Review: Nightmare Alley is a visual and cerebral feast

If a spooky dark descent into cinematic carnival noir sounds like your cup of tea this weekend, look no further than Nightmare Alley.

From the Oscar-Winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, this film is getting a tonne of awards chatter.

Firstly, what a cast. Bradley Cooper, Toni Collette, Willem Defoe, Rooney Mara and the glorious Cate Blanchett - the dream cast for a cinematic nightmare of the best kind.

Set in 1940s New York, the travelling carnival is steeped in the weird and not-so-wonderful and Cooper's penniless drifter Stanton Carlisle is sucked right in.

He grifts his way into the bathtub and confidence of Zeena the resident tarot reader and her mentalist, soaking up the tricks of their mind-reading trade before taking his act and his new lover to the big time.

With some help from the mysterious Dr Lilith Ritter, the ambitious Carlisle takes on his greatest con yet of the city's most powerful men.

This is a visual and cerebral feast and I loved it. It's dark as hell, genuinely unraveling in the most clever of ways with del Toro using all the tools of his trade.

My tippy-toe down Nightmare Alley will haunt me for quite some time.

Four-and-a-half stars.