Crimson Peak (2015)

Thirty-one days of Horror.

For the whole month of October I’ll be watching and reviewing one horror film each day!

“Ghosts are real, this much I know….”

Edith Cushing, a young woman in 1880’s New York, is trying to challenge the societal norms and become successful as a writer. Courted by mysterious British landowner Sir Thomas Sharpe, Edith’s life is about to change forever. Crimson Peak isn’t a ghost story. Just a story with ghosts in it.

Guillermo del Toro’s epic Gothic romance opens with a visit from Edith’s dead mother, casting a warning, “Beware of Crimson Peak” the ghost is well meaning and protective. We shouldn’t fear the dead, it’s the living that will do us harm.

The cast is exceptional, with Mia Wasikowska as the lead, Edith, Tom Hiddlsestone as Sir Thomas, Charlie Hunnam as Dr McMichael and Jessica Chastain as Lucille Sharpe.

The story is packed with mystery and intrigue, the plot being delivered to us slowly and purposefully, never quite revealing any more than it has to. Hiddlsestone hams it up just as much as you’d want, walking the line between tragic figure and mustache twirling bad guy, constantly keeping us guessing. When the movie shifts to Allerdale Hall in England, on the titular Crimson Peak, the tone changes and becomes darker, mirroring Edith’s descent.

Crimson Peak is one of my favourite movies of the past decade. It’s a dark, beautiful film, with an incredible score and genuinely stunning visuals. I saw it on opening day, in a screening with only three people in. For whatever reason, this movie didn’t connect well with audiences and was a huge box office disappointment. I don’t know anyone else who saw it in cinemas, I was fortunate enough to have seen it in IMAX. It wasn’t necessary, but it did add to the immersion. The visual effects are breathtaking, the ghosts a mixture of practical and CGI, delivering an ethereal look that’s typically Del Toro, echoing Santi in The Devil’s Backbone, but so vividly coloured black and red.

One of the things I love most about this film is that it feels so old fashioned. Del Toro mixes his unique style with classic horror and drama and the result lands somewhere between Pride & Prejudice and The Others. Part costume drama, part Gothic horror. It’s not a scary film, but it’s full of horrific events.

Del Toro swept the Oscars with The Shape of Water, but for me Crimson Peak is his true masterwork. He’s a director that truly knows his niche and knows what his strengths are. If you’ve never seen it, definitely check it out. There’s a fantastic Arrow collectors edition out soon that is worth checking out, I’ve linked to it below.

For Fans Of :

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Pan’s Labyrinth

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

The Woman in Black (2012)

Click here to pick up Crimson Peak from Amazon and help support the site.

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