At the cinema you gotta have a creature feature. The audience loves a good monster, one which can get your skin crawling from scalp to toe. I love it, you love, we all love it! And in our current days of cinematic creature gazing, no one understands the monster more than Del Toro. He breathes monsters, eats them up, spits them out, and loves them so. The Shape of Water shows us just how much love he has to give. Wet kisses all round.
Del Toro takes the Ocean Man from movies past, that scaly reptile dude which caused a whole heap of terror in ‘Creature From The Black Lagoon’ back in the 50’s, and puts him in a cage. Scientists are perplexed on his inner workings, whilst the mute cleaner played by Sally Hawkins finds a way into those inner workings, in more ways than one, leading to a journey into the deep blue seas of romance. And murder. Natch.
The Shape of Water works best when it focuses on the relationship between monster and cleaner. It can be as simple as listening to music by the laboratory pool, communicating via sign, or as grandiose as the underwater embrace you’ll see in all those posters and trailers. When it focuses on the drama, the unhinged super American Colonel Strickland and the warpath he marches on, it’s entertaining, sure, but it also eats into the oddities, for shooting and snooping can be seen everywhere, anytime, anywhere. Give us fishy loving.