Crimson Peak is the newest film from directer Guillermo del Toro, whose notable works include Pan’s Labyrinth and Pacific Rim. Starring Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska, the film is a throwback to the classic gothic horror stories of old.
Set in the late 19th century, the story follows the young and hopeful author Edith Cushing (Wasikowska) who falls in love with the charming English inventor, Sir Thomas Sharpe. After a fatal family tragedy, the couple move to Sharpe’s estate in England, which harbours numerous mysterious entities that haunt Edith, and where she discovers that her husband and his sister are not all that they appear to be.
I went into this movie thinking that it would be terrifying, but I was sadly disappointed. The film is more of a twisted love story that just so happens to have ghosts in it. It is very much like the old Gothic stories, like The Castle of Ontranto, Frankenstein, Dracula and The Innocents. Instead of focusing on the blood and gore that the majority of horror films show today, the movie leans its focus more on the characters, and how they are affected by the events around them. It is more classically driven, with more plot and hidden sub-text than we are used to seeing now in horror films.
Despite the lack of suspenseful ‘edge of your seat’ moments, the film does have it’s moments of terror. The mansion in which the film derives it’s title, is mesmerizing in it’s decrepit beauty, and at times, very creepy. The ghosts that haunt the mansion are unlike any that we’ve seen before, (that I can think of), and their design makes them incredibly frightening, particularly the ghost that haunts Edith as a child. During the film I often thought that it would make an awesome amusement park ride or something of the like.
At times though, I felt as if the story was taking too long to progress. It seemed to take half of the movie to set up the events, and it just dragged on and on. It felt as if there was a lot of build up for one thing, but then the story changed course and went another way, and it drifted a little. The main crisis wasn’t as entrancing as some of the previous parts of the film , and it was altogether lacking in cohesion.
Despite having a wonderful cast, I found the film to be beautiful to look at, but otherwise boring. If the ghost aspect of the story had been developed a little more, I think the film would have been a lot more interesting, but the ghosts were mostly ignored by the time the crisis point arrived, and this was ultimately disappointing.
I give this film a 3 out of 5 🙂