Edith first sees a ghost when she is ten years old; that's when her mother pays her a terrifying visit to caution her away from the Crimson Peak. Fourteen years later, Edith finds herself unwittingly enmeshed in the very thing her dead mother warned her about.
Visually, Crimson Peak is an absolutely stunning film. From wardrobe to architecture, color and whimsy play an enormous part. Set in the late 19th century, the costumes are deliciously designed around the fashion of the time. Likewise, the physical structures are dramatic and bold, exuding ambiance and drama. The collective optical effect is simply breathtaking.
Additionally breathtaking is the presence of the paranormal in the storyline. Special effects and a powerful score will have you jumping in your seat regardless of whether you anticipate being startled. Although the ghosts in this film are gruesome, they play an important role in the storyline, and are not simply gratuitous agents of fear.
The storyline itself adheres tightly to poetic imagery. The characters with light hair are the good guys, those with dark hair are the bad. It gets a bit cliche, as does the flowery language. However, that can all be attributed to the period in which the story takes place, much like the wardrobe and architecture. Although somewhat predictable, the story is cohesive and fits well with the literal and figurative imagery.
I didn't watch the particularly graphic and violent parts, but from the verbal reaction of other audience members, I'd say they were definitely effective.
Overall, Crimson Peak is disturbing and darkly humorous. It is a traditional horror movie, done beautifully. I would have given it a higher rating than a 7.5, but it didn't frighten me even remotely as much as my own childhood, and that's the standard I go by with horror films.
This is a frightening and fun movie, and I recommend it.