Del Toro’s ‘The Shape of Water’ makes waves in Venice

VENICE, Italy (AP) — Guillermo del Toro’s fantastical vision has beguiled viewers at the Venice Film Festival.

The Mexican director’s new film, “The Shape of Water,” is part monster movie, part thriller, part Hollywood musical. Some critics are calling it del Toro’s best film since “Pan’s Labyrinth” in 2006.

Sally Hawkins plays a mute cleaner at a mysterious lab who befriends a scaly sea creature at the center of a Cold War battle between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

The Daily Telegraph calls it “an honest-to-God B-movie blood-curdler that’s also, somehow, a shimmeringly earnest and boundlessly beautiful melodrama.” London’s Evening Standard says it’s “a treat if you believe in fairy tales.”

The film has its premiere Thursday in Venice, where it is one of 21 films competing for the coveted Golden Lion prize.

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