Movie: Crimson Peak
My Rating: 4 stars
I haven’t anticipated a movie this eagerly in quite a while. I don’t know if it was because I love a good scare, and the trailers made it look so spooky. It could have been that I noticed that Guillermo del Toro directed it, and he’s never steered me wrong before. Or, maybe it was because it’s October and I’m getting into the Halloween spirit. And, then there’s the cast—so many of my favorites. Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston (swoon), Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam—all of them amazing. But, I guess it really was all of these things combined that dragged me to the theater on opening weekend.
I really had a great time at this movie. I got all the heart-stopping moments I was hoping for from this horror flick. It’s billed as a gothic romance. That usually means romance-novel-worthy, trashy love, dark family secrets, and a ghost or two. And, we learn enough from the trailer to see that this film features all three elements quite prominently. Edith (Wasikowska) impulsively marries a dashing, foreign man (Hiddleston) before she has enough time to learn very much about him. A little advance research would have revealed that he lived in a really scary, isolated, old house, with his even creepier sister (Chastain). And, that’s before doing any real digging! Not the kind of surprise you’d be hoping for on your wedding night. And, sinister events start happening almost immediately.
But, the story really was a bit different from what I was expecting initially—a bit sunnier and cheerful at first. Trailers are always a bit misleading when it comes to plot. And, this one did twist a few details, and hint at things that turned out to be something else entirely. I guess that’s a good thing. I don’t like knowing everything about a movie before ever seeing it. But, this optimistic beginning quickly develops into the gothic chiller I was expecting the second our poor Edith steps across the threshold into her new home as a married woman. And, she senses that people are hiding things from her right away.
I love Guillermo del Toro’s aesthetic. That guy is the master of the grotesque. If anyone were going to design ghosts that would horrify you to your core, it’d be him. Most of his creatures are really hard to look at. And, the house! I didn’t even need to see ghosts for the house to be deeply unsettling. The dark corners, the mysterious groans, the decay—it’s the perfect setting for a haunting. (Although, I haven’t come across a haunted house yet that can top the deeply horrifying mansion in The Woman in Black). But, everything was wonderfully executed—the costumes especially. I don’t know where I can get my hands on one of those puffed sleeve masterpieces Mia Wasikowska was wearing, but I would kinda love to prance around a haunted house wearing one.
I really liked this movie so I recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone who likes horror. But, don’t go into this expecting it to be something it’s not. The themes are all very overblown, cheesy and romantic—the way a good Gothic romance should be. So the tone really is quite sentimental. So as long as you go into it knowing that its supposed to be this stylized and dramatic, you should be fine. Try to see it on the big screen if you get the chance. I think it’ll be worth it for the scale.