So I watched Crimson Peak…
Never underestimate the appeal of consistency. Yes, sensational and breathtaking moments are essential but most of the time, consistency is what gets you through. That’s what Crimson Peak offers. It isn’t an amazing movie, it isn’t a horrible movie; it’s just a really well made average movie that does well in keeping you satisfied and entertained.
Okay, basic plot: Set in 1901, Crimson Peak tells the story of Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) who falls in love with the dashing and charming, Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston). The pair are married and move to England to live in the house where Thomas grew up, sharing the property with Thomas’ sister – Lucille (Jessica Chastain). As Edith spends more and more time in her new home she is confronted by visions of spirits. These spirits, however, do not try to harm Edith but rather wish to warn her against the dangers of her new family and the terrible secrets the house holds.
This movie is a great piece of Gothic romance. The juxtaposition of death and horror with sex and love is really well done. This movie has a very patient build-up, taking it’s time to thoroughly introduce its characters and allow the audience time to connect with them.There’s also a wonderful love story (actually there’s quite a few) at the heart of this movie.I wouldn’t classify this movie as a horror and think it’s better labeled as a thriller. There is a supernatural element to this movie – with Edith being able to see ghosts – but, in truth, it felt out of place in the the grander scheme of the story. I don’t want to spoil anything but the true monsters in this movie aren’t ghosts or vengeful spirits but rather human beings and the inclusion of these ghosts just took away from, what I felt was, the true spirit of the movie.
The ghosts also never really feel like characters in the movie but rather just plot devices that help further the movie’s story. Only Edith can see the ghosts because she has some kind of power as a medium but the entire aspect of having ghosts in the story just never seems to fit in with the style that the movie is going for. The ghosts, though, do look amazing and Guillermo del Toro and the special effects team do a great job taking a unique stance on the visual representation of ghosts. In fact, all the visuals in this movie are wonderfully put together. There’s wonderful use of colour and the violence in the movie is shot in a wonderfully expressive way. It isn’t overly gratuitous but it is graphic and jarring and wonderful to see.
The acting in this movie is probably its most attractive feature. This a very female-driven story with Mia Wasikowska and Jessica Chastain really taking the lead. I don’t think the two characters the actresses play, respectively, are going to be iconic but it is great to see powerful female characters and talented actresses bringing them to life. It’s hard to pinpoint which performance I loved more. Wasikowska had this great fragile but courageous and unbreakable spirit; while Chastain has this rigid, steely cruelness that I also loved. It’s a great acting display by two very talented performers. We cannot, however, talk about good acting and leave Tom Hiddleston out. This movie is set in 1901 and obviously there was a different code of behaviour for men and woman and the way people carried themselves was different. Hiddleston does a incredible job embodying the pomp and circumstance of a gentleman from a bygone era.
This movie is wonderfully disturbing at times and really gets under your skin. I think this would make a great date movie because there were quite a few times when I wished I had, had somebody’s hand to squeeze. Unfortunately, as I said in my introduction, this movie isn’t anything amazing. It’s a by-the-numbers thriller. It isn’t going to revolutionise the genre or change the world of film in any way but it is well-crafted and a worthy addition to the genre. There are a few twists and turns which I really enjoyed; but they all come when you’d expect them to and the film more or less unfolds the exact way you’d expect it to. It’s entertaining but it isn’t going to blow your mind.
Overall, I enjoyed Crimson Peak. It’s well acted and Del Toro does a great job with the directing. It isn’t drastically different from what has come before it; but it does entertain and certainly thrill. It’s worth a trip to the cinema (just make sure you bring a date) 7/10