‘Payback!’ is the theme so far in Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities, a Netflix horror anthology with eight short stories. The second one starts off at one of the best setting for a supernatural short – a huge creepy cemetery.
Titled ‘Graveyard Rats’, it’s based on a short story by Henry Kuttner and deftly directed by Vincenzo Natali. Interestingly, the protagonist of this tale is eerily similar to the first one – a greedy white man who exploits the dead to pays off his debts. Macabre, gross and even mildly comedic, the second story has all the ingredients of a good horror short, reminiscent of gothic works by literary writers like Edgar Allan Poe. While an exact date isn’t made clear, the plot probably unfolds some time in the early 1920s; a gravestone at the beginning had the date ‘1900-1919’ inscribed on it. If not for that little giveaway, I would’ve assumed it to be taking place in the late 1800s.
David Hewlett delivers an entertaining performance as Mr Masson, a grave robber who plans to rob the coffin of a wealthy merchant. But Masson must first fight an army of rodents and something more sinister to steal the riches buried with the corpse. Despite most scenes taking place in the night, the cinematography is crisply clear and not annoyingly dark. The episode doesn’t have any chilling moments, is barely scary, but the plot are settings invoke a perfectly good gothic ambience, and there are enough things happening to keep viewers amused until the very end.
It’s a 7.5/10 from me for ‘Graveyard Rats’.
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