Pan's Labyrinth takes place in fascist Spain of 1944, following the life of a young girl, Ofelia, whose life changes drastically after her pregnant mother marries a brutally ruthless army Captain, Vidal, and they move in with him. Ofelia is crazy about fairytales and escapes to the fantasy world. One night, she meets a fairy who takes her to an old faun, who is located in the center of the labyrinth. He informs her that she is a princess, but in order to prove that she is truly royal, she must survive three dangerous tasks. If she succeeds, then she will be able to be reunited with her real father, the king, again.
This is not your ordinary fairytale movie. It is NOT for children or the easily startled. It is very brutal and violent at times. Also, there is a very messed up monster, called the Pale Man, who still haunts some of my dreams. He is extremely freakish. His skin sags and pulls away from his body. His fingers have large claws extending from them. It's sick! He also is very quick when he starts chasing that poor little girl. Ah! No!!!! I hate the Pale Man!
Vidal is also frightening because he is such a bloodthirsty bastard. If I were the little girl, I would have preferred the horrific fantasy world, too. Ok, maybe not if I saw that Pale Man, but Vidal is so vial and cruel that he's almost as scary.