Crimson Peak (2015)
Set at the turn of the 20th Century, Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) is a young woman who dreams of being a published writer. When a new stranger comes to town looking for funding from her father, Edith falls in love with this man, Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston). After a tragedy in her life, Edith decides to marry Mr. Sharpe and move to his secluded family manor known for its clay manufacturing and coined “Crimson Peak.” Thomas’s sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain) also lives in this home with the newly weds, and as each day passes, Edith knows she made a deathly mistake.
From director Guillermo Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy, Pacific Rim), Crimson Peak has a very similar feel to 2 other films Del Toro has produced – Mama and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. If you have seen either of these 2 horror films then you will definitely see similarities in the style which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as Del Toro makes quality films. If you are not familiar with Del Toro’s work, all of his films have great special effects and are appealing to the eye. His movies don’t always boast plots of substance, but they usually don’t suck either. Crimson Peak follows this rule fairly well. The setting, costumes and visuals are perfect and they draw you into the atmosphere that the movie creates. The ghosts are creepy, the house is secluded and the time period is spot on. However, as I pointed out, the stories Del Toro tells usually are plain and uninspiring and Crimson Peak is no exception.
The negatives about this movie surround the story and the way it is told. As I said before, the visuals and the setting are great for telling a ghost story about love and tragedy, but the story itself is problematic. For starters, the movie is too damn long. It is 2 hours long and for a horror/ghost movie, that is about 15-25 minutes too long. There is plenty of fluff towards the beginning that wasn’t necessarily needed and could have been cut. This wouldn’t have been that big a deal if the story wasn’t a slow-burn. Maybe the story isn’t really a slow-burn but just feels that way because the movie is longer than is should be. If you cut the movie down, that would have allowed the story to flow quicker and might have felt like the scares were coming faster. However, due to the amount of time in between the scares and chills, I forgot that I was watching a scary ghost movie for me to be impressed. Am I saying that Crimson Peak is a bad movie? No, I don’t think it is, but just like when I saw Mama a couple of years ago, the story tried to do more that simply scare us and that movie ended up being memorable due to what it lacked. That is what I felt here. Sure the atmosphere and visuals make up for what it lacked in story, but why can’t we get both?
At the end of the day, I was hoping for this beautifully looking movie to unfold into a gripping tale of twists and betrayal, but what we got was a beautifully looking movie that told an overly long story that was decent. I believe that if Del Toro’s name wasn’t attached to this, it would have gotten more dislike than it did, but I think that this will be a 50/50 like or dislike for many. As for me, I tip the scale into the “like,” but not by much. Co-starring Charlie Hunnam, Jim Beaver, Burn Gorman, Leslie Hope, and Doug Jones.
6/10 Stars – Stunningly beautiful with the atmosphere and costumes, but the slow-burn story was too long to scare or thrill.