Crimson Peak Movie Review
Crimson Peak Review
There was a problem with my regular comic book purveyor, so you’re getting a review for an underrated movie that I recently watched.
Guillermo del Toro is, unquestionably, one of the most interesting directors working today. In a world where interesting Indie Darlings are immediately scooped up to make generic Blockbusters, Del Toro has maintained his love for weird monsters and classic movies alive and somehow tricked studios into pumping money at projects that no one besides guys like me would watch. Case in point, 2015’s Crimson Peak, a movie that homages classic Italian horror movies and that was totally forgotten. On a lark, I decided to watch it. Was it any good? First, the plot.
Set in 1887, the movie focuses on Edith Cushing, who’s attempting to be a writer while still living with her wealthy father, Carter, and who meets a mysterious and charming entrepreneur named Thomas Sharpe. But Sharpe has terrible secrets related to his family (particularly his sister Lucille) and his sinking house which sits above a clay mineshaft. As if this wasn’t enough, Edith is being visited by ghosts warning her to beware of the Crimson Peak and all the things hidden there…
I think part of the reason this movie failed is that it was sold as a straight up ghost horror movie and that’s not really what the movie’s about. It does feature ghosts, but there’s very little of them and they’re not the focus of the story. Instead, Crimson Peak is Del Toro’s homage to old Victorian Gothic Romances with a bit of a Giallo paintjob. If you don’t know, Giallo is a type of Italian horror movie, very popular in the 70s, that tended to feature a lot of very specific traits: garish lighting, interesting looking sets, stylish cinematography, a lot of bloody violence and a black glove killer. As you might have guessed this movie featured all of those, but in a Victorian setting rather than the usual modern day (for the 70s) Italy.
This movie is basically Del Toro making an artistic mood piece on company dime. It’s pretty much an old school melodrama, with a couple of scares here and there that exists so you can absorb the atmosphere and the feeling of everything.
Now, that’s not to say the bad marketing excuses everything. While I enjoyed the plot because I’m familiar with those Gothic Romances, you can accuse it of being simplistic and maybe a little bit dumb. Also, while the Cinematography was overall great, I do wish we spent more time REALLY showing off the house, with maybe some wide shots letting the place wash over me.
As for the acting, Mia Wasikowska and Tom Hiddleston are basically built for Victorian drama. Wasikowska basically looks like a porcelain doll that’s just slightly too ethereal and Hiddleston exudes gentlemanliness. My one complaint is the casting of Jessica Chastain. She’s not bad in the role (far from it) but she looks like a modern woman, and I think that role required a special “feel”, I guess. My pick would’ve been Eva Green, who not only fits the Victorian look a lot more, but also has a particular intensity that would’ve been perfect.
Overall, if you excuse the lack of ghosts (really, this movies should’ve ended with someone being dragged to hell), this is a moody and atmospheric movie, with great colors and some fun melodrama. If that’s not your thing, I get it, but if this seems interesting and you missed it, now is as good a time as any to watch it.
Crimson Peak Review