Every marathoner eventually hits the wall. It’s that moment when the body screams, “No more!” and a runner either pushes through it and finishes the race or crumbles to the ground, taking down as many fellow joggers as possible.

I’m not much for sportsmanship.

That metaphorical wall exists even in silly tests of endurance as well – competitive hot wing eating, playing video games for days, watching 31 horror movies in 31 days.

I hit my horror movie wall Monday about 8:30 p.m. I just didn’t want to sit down to another film with blood, screaming, creepy gas station attendants, harbingers or stupid people going down into the basement when they should be running out the front door.

All I wanted to do was enjoy a frothy, stout adult beverage before falling asleep watching Monday Night Football, like a regular, red-blooded American male with nothing better to do.

But I had something better to do, so I pressed “play” and fell into the dark and mysterious world of Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth,” the fantasy movie by which all others shall be judged. The movie is so engrossing, so enchanting, that I didn’t even realize I was reading subtitles.

It’s the story of Ofelia, a fairytale-obsessed young girl who, along with her pregnant mother, moves to a wartorn part of Spain in 1944 to live with her sadistic step-father.

Ofelia meets a fairy who leads her to a labyrinth and a faun – a magical creature that’s half-man, half-goat – who tells her that she is actually a princess from the underground realm.

The faun wants to bring her home, but Ofelia must first prove herself worthy by passing three dangerous tests that pit her against unspeakable monsters like the Pale Man.

For all its creepy monsters, “Pan’s Labyrinth” is really about a little girl trying to make sense out of the real-life horrors she has been thrust into, and trying to escape a situation from which escape seems impossible.For all its creepy monsters, “Pan’s Labyrinth” is really about a little girl trying to make sense out of the real-life horrors she has been thrust into, and trying to escape a situation from which escape seems impossible.

It’s also one of those rare horror/dark fantasies that ends exactly as it should.

If you don’t shed a tear, you’re apt to be as heartless as the Pale Man.

Brett Buckner is watching a horror movie every night in October for #StarHorrorfest. Follow along on Twitter @bbuckner32 or AnnistonStar.com/Horrorfest.