Friday, February 23, 2018

Crimson Peak (2015)


The trailers for Crimson Peak caught my interest. It looked like a visual feast with a heavy lean on gothic style. And it was directed by Guillermo del Toro. While his movies don’t always land for me, I always appreciate his visual and his boldness in going full bore for the type of movie he is trying to make. I was hoping this film would be a little better than Pacific Rim. Let’s see what happened.


Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) is feeling trapped in her life as a secretary for her industrialist father. She is an aspiring novelist, but since this is the 1800s that profession is frowned upon for proper young ladies. Edith meets a handsome baronet from England who dreams of making his fortune using a unique steam powered machine. He is a fiery dreamer named Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) and with his taciturn sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain) they are seeking capital for their venture.

Edith’s father turns Thomas down, but she falls for the dashing young man and hurries off to England as his new bride. Once they get to the ancient mansion, Edith finds that things are much different then she realized. The old house is literally falling apart. Lucille goes from taciturn to downright disturbing. And then there are the ghosts – vividly, horrifically bloody ghosts. And when Edith hears that the area is called Crimson Peak she recalls a message from a spectral form of her mother warning her against visiting this evil place. Will Edith be able to unravel the mysteries of Crimson Peak or is she already ensnared in a deadly trap?

Good Points:
  • Amazing atmospheric visuals and style
  • Excellent acting by the entire cast
  • As sense of fun and energy to the whole film

Bad Points:
  • The visual style of the ghosts doesn’t quite fit with the film
  • Some may find the focus on gothic romance to be annoying
  • The storyline borrows from many classic tales so it may be overly familiar to some viewers


If you are looking for a fun throwback to the Hammer style horror films then you’ll enjoy Del Toro’s energetic effort to capture that type of film. With a focus on gothic romance, a dash of visceral violence and some impressive visual design the movie aims high and nearly hits all the points.

Scores (out of 5)
Visuals: 5
Sound: 4
Acting:  4
Script:  3
Music: 4
Direction: 4
Entertainment: 4
Total:  4

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review.

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  1. Gothic moodiness is fine by me and del Toro can deliver that reliably. Part of the problem with dark twisted secrets, however, is that nothing much of that nature shocks us anymore -- even if we allow that 19th century characters would think differently about it, the audience is here in the 21st. Only garden variety romance nowadays startles us. We no longer believe much in that. Not even Disney does: cf Frozen, Brave, Maleficent, et al. Still, it sounds as though the flick is worth a look.

    1. Yeah the deep dark secrets are a big of fun. While the film is inspired by old gothic romance, the visuals and style is much more rooted in the Hammer Horror film traditions. In that way it is a bit more in your face when it comes to the gore and sexuality. It is a fun movie all the way around and worth checking out, especially in fall.