Crimson Peak

If you are a fan of Spanish director Guillermo Del Toro, you would have been waiting with abated breath for his new movie Crimson Peak.

Anyone familiar with Del Toro will recognize him for some of the most creepiest movies ever: Mimic, The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth. Along with the creepiness factor, Del Toro also unleashes a very vivid imagination. His last movie was Pacific Rim which was an incredible full blown action movie.

With Crimson Peak, Del Toro takes us on a journey into the world of 19th century America and England. It’ s a pure Gothic romance movie. This is something we all need to realize before watching this movie: it’s a Gothic romance movie, and not a Gothic horror movie. As one of the characters says in the movie: it’s not a ghost story, but a story that happens to have ghosts in it.

We follow Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), the daughter of a wealthy businessman. She is smitten by Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddlestone) and the two fall in love. Mr. Sharpe has a sister, Lady Lucille Sharpe (Jessican Chastain), who is not too keen about her brother’s love interest.

At the beginning of the movie, young Edith is visited by her dead mother’s spirit, who tells her: “beware of Crimson Peak.” 14 years later, Edith is an aspiring ghost writer. Edith’s childhood friend, Dr. Alan Macmichael disapproves of Edith’s love interest, and so uncovers a dark secret about Thomas Sharpe. Edith’s father forces the couple to break up, and sends away both the siblings with a bribe.

Edith’s father is mysteriously murdered (not such a mystery to the audience though) and she reunites with Thomas Sharpe at their estate Allerdale Hale in England. As the relationship between the two lovebirds blooms, Edith continues to see dead ghosts around the house, who keep on telling her: “beware of Crimson Peak.” Edith begins to explore the house and discovers some shocking history about the past of the house and the relationship between her husband and his sister.

There isn’t really much to get involved with in the story, for it’s slightly too predictable and clichéd. We’ve all seen parts of it before. The house reminds you the movie The Haunting. Lady Lucille reminds you of Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca. The Gothic feel to it reminds you of The Others. The ghosts remind you of Mama. There is a lot of seen-that-before feeling to the movie. The acting is pretty much like what you would expect from any movie of this nature.

However, the real star of the movie is the house itself, Crimson Peak. Floorboards creaks. Elevators rattle. Doors slam shut. It’s a spooky no doubt and makes for a gorgeously, visual delight as your eyes tries to take in the meticulous details. The main lobby of the house is spectacularly grand. The furniture pieces are  ornate and classical. The paintings are creepy. The stained glass windows are fun to look at. The house is pretty much what the movie revolves around with.

I saw this movie at the IMAX, and it made for a good watch. Don’t think it will translate too well onto a DVD. Do keep in mind that the movie is adults only, for there are some suggestive sex scenes and themes, as well as gore and violence (one shock stab will catch you by surprise!)

A Gothic romance-horror movie, where the romance flounders and horror wanes, but the house makes up for everything else. (Yes, the movie is full of crimson elements: red clay, red ball, red gowns, red ring, red blood, even the beginning Universal logo is red!)

2.5 out of 5

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