Director: Guillermo del Toro
Writer: Guillermo del Toro, Matthew Robbins
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam, Jim Beaver, Burn Gorman, Leslie Hope, Doug Jones
Seen on: 18.10.2015
Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) dreams of publishing a book but until that happens, she’s quite happy at home with her father Carter (Jim Beaver). But then Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) and his sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain) come from England to her father with a business proposal and Edith finds herself falling for Thomas. Her father makes inquiries about the Sharpes and is not convinced that Thomas would be a suitable match. But then Carter dies surprisingly and Edith follows the Sharpes to England. But there are ghosts that follow all of them. Literally.
Crimson Peak is the quintessential gothic horror story. It is so much the distillation fo the genre that nothing in it will surprise you, but if you like the genre, you’ll love the beautiful love letter to it that del Toro has crafted with this film.
That Guillermo del Toro has a penchant for visually striking films is nothing new. With Crimson Peak he is back on that same level of amazing he achieved in Pan’s Labyrinth, from costumes over colors to the sets. It’s an aesthetic I could bathe in and probably would, given half a chance. If you don’t like his style that much, though, you’ll probably start wondering about the parts where he puts style over substance – like with the hole in the mansion’s roof where constantly something is falling – snow or leaves – even when there are no trees around from where those leaves could fall. I managed to ignore those pracitcalities and enjoy the visuals.
But visuals aren’t the only thing about the film that I enjoyed. I might not be the world’s biggest gothic/victorian horror fan, but I do appreciate a well-executed genre exercise and that is just what Crimson Peak is. I’d also argue that gothic horror is a genre that (at least nowadays) appeals mostly to women, something that del Toro very much gets (and which leads to naked Hiddleston and no naked women).
Most of all, though, I liked the characters and I was honestly interested in them. Even with Charlie Hunnam’s Alan they manage to stay clear enough off the savior/damsel in distress dynamic that I didn’t feel uncomfortable and could still like him and his honest concern about Edith. It helps of course when you have such an excellent cast who really bring them alive.
I was very much looking forward to Crimson Peak and I expected much. So it’s even more satisfying that it was just this damn good. I’m looking forward to seeing it again soon.