Crimson Peak review
As it is said in Crimson Peak, “Ghosts are real”. I’m a believer in spirits that roam the earth, stuck in our world for one reason or another. Twice I’ve had a paranormal encounter. The first time I saw something was when I was about ten when my family was staying in a hotel in Riverside that was rumored to be haunted. My best friend Jason and I went exploring while my folks were out to dinner. We encountered a mirror that cracked right in front of us while a voice told us go back. The second was when again, Jason and I were going to an abandoned mill where we both saw a figure on the second floor and felt the cold chill of a hand touch our shoulders.
Seeing ghosts in real life is one thing, but in cinema, the less you see the spirits the more frightening they are. It draws on the perception that the scariest thing is what ever you imagine it to be. The Haunting and The Shining are probably the best haunted house movies out there they play more on the psychology of spooks and how scary that can be. Crimson Peak attempts to bring on it’s own frights.
Taking place in the late 1800’s, young woman Edith Cushing (played by Mia Wasikowska) is the daughter of a wealthy industrialist and is an aspiring author who writes ghost stories with the hope of being Mary Shelly rather then Jane Austin. Her latest book is turned away for not having much romance. Visiting English baronet Sir Thomas Sharpe (played by Tom Hiddleston) takes an immediate liking to Edith as he tries to raise capital for an invention from her father. He and his sister Lucile (played by Jessica Chastain) are turned away and don’t blend in well with the New York upper class.
Her father is unexpectedly murdered, leaving Edith little to contemplate, so she marries Thomas and moves with him back to England. She she’s the dilapidated mansion he’s lived on since he was a boy, which is in bad condition and is sinking into the clay-like Earth that he’s trying to harvest. As Edith settles in, Thomas becomes distant while Lucile becomes more cold towards her brothers wife. Each night comes as a shock as strange noises and floating spirits are spotted. They may be trying to tell Edith of the darker story behind the house and the brother and sister who live there.
As with most works by Guillermo del Toro, Crimson Peak boasts with color and grand design. This is a movie that I loved looking at despite it’s dark tale. It’s clearly a tribute to the Hammer horror movies of the 1970s. The whole picture is like looking at a painting from that era that I’m sure will be honored with plenty of technical awards. It manages to add on to the spookiness of the atmosphere (even if the overall movie isn’t really that scary) without making it too much to overwhelm the story.
Speaking of which, Crimson Peak is a gothic love story over a horror story. It seems evident of that given how much of the action relies on how much Edith trusts her husband and new sister in law. What’s interesting though as much of a writer she is, it takes her a while to see that the house has a dark past, despite given some clues that aren’t that hard to figure out. The story isn’t bad, it’s just missing a chance to be scary in favor of looking scary. Perhaps if Crimson Peak had done a better job covering some of it’s plot holes, I would have liked it more.
I’ll give this three Victorian era ghost photos out of three. Crimson Peak may not be as scary as it thinks it is, I enjoyed myself while I was looking at it. I doubt I’ll remember these characters and their motivations, but I will remember the house.