* AcceptablePoliticalTargets: Fascists/Francoists. Justified by the number of atrocities committed during the [[UsefulNotes/{{Spain}} Spanish]] Civil War and afterwards.
* AlternateCharacterInterpretation: The Faun is subject to this, as it is left deliberately ambiguous on how trustworthy he actually is.
* AwardSnub: Subverted. The film did quite well come [[UsefulNotes/AcademyAward Oscar]] time, winning for Art Direction, Cinematography and Makeup. However, it ended losing Foreign Language Film in an upset to ''Film/TheLivesOfOthers''. Not the worst case of this, given how the latter film is also quite great.
** The film also failed to earn a Best Picture nomination, despite appearing on more Top 10 lists than any of the actual nominees that year aside from ''Film/TheQueen'' and ''Film/TheDeparted''.
* CompleteMonster: Captain Vidal is far more terrifying than the fantastical monsters in the same work and one of the most terrifying examples of this trope. Vidal first shows his nastiness when two poachers, a father and son, are brought to him in the dead of night, his men suspecting them of being rebels against the regime. He beats the younger man's face in with a bottle simply for defending his father against Vidal's accusations before shooting them both with a vague air of boredom and pleasure. When the men are proven not to be rebels, Vidal shows no remorse, only belittling his men to be more careful next time. At one point, Vidal captures a rebel with a horrible stutter and cheerfully shows the man his [[TortureTechnician torture instruments]] before offering to let him go if he can clearly count to three. He fails. Vidal is married to the young heroine's mother solely so she'll bear him an heir, and shows no concern over the possible death of his wife in childbirth. When the doctor attending her gives the aforementioned stuttering torture victim a mercy kill, Vidal coldly guns him down. At the film's end, [[spoiler:Vidal's stepdaughter Ofelia tries to rescue her baby brother, but Vidal catches her and [[WouldHurtAChild promptly shoots her fatally]].]] It's no accident that Vidal's place at the head of the table in the dinner scene parallels that of the Pale Man; each qualifies as a MonstrousHumanoid in his own way, one literal, one figurative.
* DeathOfTheAuthor: Despite del Toro's own insistence that the magic is real, some viewers hold that the film is better assuming Ofelia is simply delusional, and merely using the Faun and the fairies as a coping mechanism for her own traumas.
** On the flip side, del Toro considers the film a metaphor for the Spanish Civil War, and many people ran with it, specially in Spain. Interpretations go as far as to consider, for instance, Vidal a representation of Franco's regime, Carmen a representation of Spain itself, Ofelia a representation of the Spanish Second Republic and Ofelia's brother a representation of the Spanish democracy that would come at the end of Franco's regime.
* EsotericHappyEnding: Besides the possibility that the ending is [[spoiler:merely Ophelia's dying, blood-loss induced fantasy,]] there are other Falangists (Spanish Fascists) out there, after [[spoiler:Vidal's death]]. No doubt, looking for the Republicans in retaliation.
* {{Fanon}}: Despite WordOfGod confirming that the magic is real, some fans prefer to interpret everything as being in Ofelia's imagination.
* GeniusBonus: Pretty much every single event in this film is based on an existing folk tale, even the wraparound story. This film is literally folklore wrapped in folklore sprinkled with more folklore which will evoke a strong "don't open the door!" type of terror from those familiar with the source material. Yes, even the crazy stuff regarding chalk doors and mandrake roots have actual folklore magic roots!
* GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff: The film is far more appreciated outside of Spain, where it's only remembered as "a good Creator/GuillermoDelToro movie"... if remembered at all. Partly because [[CulturalCringe Spaniard mainstream and geek audiences have kind of a disdain for local cinema]].
* IAmNotShazam: The Faun has no mentioned name; "[[Myth/ClassicalMythology Pan]]" was used in the English title under the assumption that people would confuse "faun" with "fawn" (baby deer.)
** WordOfGod has confirmed that his idea of Pan is far too wild and dangerous to serve in a role of the Faun (Which makes sense, considering the actual mythology behind the God Pan, who is often described as [[AnythingThatMoves hypersexual or even paedophile]].)
** And, well, considering what the director [[CosmicHorrorStory is into]], his idea of Pan would probably be akin to ''Literature/TheGreatGodPan''.
* JustHereForGodzilla: Who only saw the movie to see the Pale Man?
* MoralEventHorizon: Vidal beating a boy's face in for supposedly being a rebel is one of the most horrific scenes in the entire movie. It is also one of the first centered on him. ''And he only gets worse from there''.
* {{Narm}}: The Pale Man seeing with his eyes in his hands (which also happens to be the image in the NightmareFuel entry of the film), [[spoiler:and the King of the Underworld (a.k.a. Ofelia's dad) being an old man with a white beard]] could fit.
* NauseaFuel: The poor sap getting his face beaten in by Vidal, and that's ''just'' the tip of the iceberg.
** The sickening sound as the Doctor begins to cut into the injured man's leg with a saw...
** The first task, with the frog in the tree. ''All of it''.
** The bloody face of the poor rebel who was interrogated.
** See also {{Squick}} below.
* OneSceneWonder: The Pale Man only shows up once, yet for many people, he is the most memorable thing in the movie.
* SciFiGhetto: It's a fantasy movie that broke out of it in some ways. However as noted under AwardSnub above, it failed to get a Best Picture nomination. The fact the magical elements are [[MaybeMagicMaybeMundane more ambiguous]] then most fantasy films may have helped.
** Though notably, del Toro said it led to some people deciding his ''other'' films were in the sci-fi/fantasy ghetto, and this was him making a "serious" film. As he will happily tell you, [[DefiedTrope he resents any implication]] that he sees his more obviously commercial films as less personal.
* {{Squick}}: Both supernatural (the Pale Man) and mundane ([[spoiler:Captain Vidal getting his cheek cut open and subsequent sewing it back together]].)
** And to add to the Squick/{{Nightmare Fuel}} factor: After Vidal [[spoiler:provisionally sews together his cheek, he takes a quick gulp of whiskey (or some other high-percentage alcohol.) He does not manage to swallow it all at once, and there is a painful sequence, where whiskey comes flushing out of his sown-up cheek. And one can only imagine the intense pain of having an open wound at the mouth flushed with concentrated alcohol, in this case a searing bitter. Strangely enough, this short moment occurs ''without'' much blood spill, which in fact makes it all the more... {{Squick}}]].
* UglyCute: The Faun.
* WhatAnIdiot: Much like many a child fairy tale protagonist, Ofelia suffers from GenreBlindness by eating from the forbidden feast. Even after she is told repeatedly not to eat from it, with her fairy guides trying to stop her from consuming the grapes, as well as the Pale Man sitting right there at the head of the table. Though, it may have to be taken into account that she hadn't eaten in at least a day and since it was faerie food, it could have very likely been enchanted to be irresistible.
** The former explanation is seemingly confirmed in Guillermo del Toro's ''Cabinet of Curiosities''. Del Toro comments how he regrets cutting out a line that explains that Ofelia hadn't eaten in a while, thus explaining how easily she fell to the temptation.
* WhatDoYouMeanItsNotForKids; One of the most profound examples, as the trailers were cut in such a way as to suggest that it's a Disney-esque fantasy. It's not. Really really not.
* {{Woolseyism}}: The aforementioned title change. Its original Spanish title was ''El Laberinto del Fauno'' -- "The Labyrinth of the Faun."
* TheWoobie: Ofelia, most definitely. Carmen and Mercedes also qualify.
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