It's beginning to look a lot like Halloween with horror movies coming at us left and right. The horror genre, however, has been in a really weird state with many movies just doing what the last one did. People all around are beginning to ask "When will there be a breath of fresh air from it all?"
It seems that might be just what Crimson Peak is for us all, as it sets out to be more than just a horror movie while keeping the scares and creepiness we long for.
The movie's tag line is "Beware Of Crimson Peak" but should you really stay away from Crimson Peak?
I recently attended a screening for Crimson Peak, directed by Guillermo Del Toro, and starring Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, and Charlie Hunnam. The movie is a sort of back to the beginning for Guillermo Del Toro, whose recent movie was the action packed Pacific Rim. If you're not familiar with Del Toro's earlier work, then you are missing out on some really good horror, including Cronos and The Devil's Backbone. This genre is what Del Toro does best, and that's making truly chilling movies with beautiful designs. From the sets to the costumes, it's all truly astonishing.
The story revolves around a young woman named Edith, played by Wasikowska, who is able to communicate with the dead ever since she was little. Edith marries Thomas (Tom Hiddleston) and moves into a remote mansion passed down by his family where he now resides with his alluring sister Lucille (Jesicca Chastain). The true horror begins as apparitions and ghouls begin to appear forth to Edith, leading her to discover a dark secret more horrifying than she ever imagined.
The cast in this movie is a wonderful ensemble that truly worked for the movie and gave an amazing performance. The cast's great acting, laced with Guillermo Del Toro's beautiful sets and wardrobe, truly take you to this time period and engulf you till the end. I have to really give it up to the designers for delivering such a haunting appearance to the mansion as well as the ghosts in the movie. The movie, as Guillermo puts it, is not a horror movie but rather a Gothic Romance, and that's important to know going into this movie. It does not mean that the movie is dull. I assure you it is not, with many twists and turns to come. There is horror in this movie, and I'm talking true horrors not just pop ups that scare you for seconds, but true creepiness that sticks to you even after the credits roll.
The romance between Edith and Thomas was believable as well. There was nothing that felt too cliche from it all. If you're a fan of movies like Jane Eyre, you're probably going to love this one as well. I was really loving Tom Hiddleston's performance as the charming Thomas, and felt he was the strongest character. The performance Hiddleston gave was one of his best so far. You truly felt everything he evoked in each scene.
I did enjoy every actor's performance, however I felt Mia's character felt flat, which may just have to do with the writing, and not necessarily her acting. This could just be me knit picking the movie because overall I think they were all great, but Hiddleston and Chastain were the ones that stood out the most. I have to give Chastain a lot of praise as well because her character and performance were outstanding. I can't say much about the character because it would take away from the experience, so I'll move on to the horror elements from the movie.
The movie is really targeted in the trailers as being a horror movie, but as I said earlier, it's not and if you go in thinking that you might be disappointed. It's a Gothic Romance, but that also means there's a lot of darkness and horror interwoven in the romance. I truly believe the movie was horrifying and creepy every time the ghosts and ghouls would appear. The designs for these creatures were truly otherworldly and reminded of some of Pan's Labyrinth's creatures, another movie by Del Toro. The creatures aren't necessarily scary and there's an element with the CGI that takes away from the horror, but I believe it's the backstory that makes them terrifying. I found myself gripping my arm rest in these scenes, not just because of the horror, but the tension that builds, which I loved. The movie is a slow burner, but I assure you, when it reaches its climax it grabs hold of you and doesn't let you go until the credits roll.
Crimson Peak is a movie that set out to deliver a true horror film, one of which is so rare to find in an age of pop up scares. I believe it achieved that, and delivered an amazing Gothic Romance which I haven't seen in a while. I have to say it's a movie worth checking out this Halloween season with excellent acting performances, gorgeous designs, and a haunting story. It's well worth the price of admission.