By Nico Beland
Movie Review: A (3 ½ stars)
Master director, Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, Pacific Rim) strikes again with his latest gothic romantic horror film, Crimson Peak. Like many of his other films, Crimson Peak has a dark, gothic tone, lots of creative creature designs, and massive set designs, it almost feels like a haunted house version of Pan’s Labyrinth.
Fortunately, Crimson Peak has enough originality to stand on its own, so it’s not a rehash of Del Toro’s previous film projects. And no it’s nothing like other gothic romances like Twilight, sweet relief there, unlike that series, Crimson Peak offers well-developed characters, an actual story, and over the top special effects and bloody deaths.
Our story begins with a young woman named Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska-Alice in Wonderland, Jane Eyre, Albert Nobbs) who has been seeing ghosts all her life, ever since her mother died when she was little. One day she is swept away after falling in love with a seductive stranger named Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston-Thor, The Avengers, War Horse) and his sister, Lady Lucille Sharpe (Jessica Chastain-Zero Dark Thirty, Interstellar, The Martian) to a house atop a mountain of blood-red clay filled with secrets that will haunt her forever.
Between desire and darkness, mystery and madness lies the dark secret of Crimson Peak, supposedly a series of violent deaths have occurred in the house over the years and Edith is determined to find out the truth about the house and possibly the people she is staying with.
Overall, Crimson Peak delivers exactly what you would expect from a Guillermo Del Toro film. Dark, creepy tone, creature designs, and massive sets. It’s probably not one of the scariest horror films, but it balances well between quiet atmosphere, chilling buildup, and shocking twists and creatures.
The lead actors are great, especially Tom Hiddleston, you can tell once he shows up on screen that he has something to hide, but he looks like a dignified gentleman. However, throughout the movie, I had to resist making jokes about his Loki character.
I’m glad Mia Wasikowska moved forward from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland to do some solid acting as Edith, it’s no Oscar material but all throughout the movie you keep rooting for her until the very end. Jessica Chastain is amazing as Lucille, if you judge by the trailers you would probably expect her character to just be a supporting role, but no, you are in for a surprise here.
If you’re a fan of horror or Guillermo Del Toro’s projects, you’ll probably have a chillingly splendid time watching Crimson Peak. It has elements of Pan’s Labyrinth, Mama, and even a little bit of Hellboy and Blade II put in there.
So far this is my go-to film for the Halloween holiday, it’s a delightfully chilling and beautifully executed gothic fantasy that must be seen in IMAX to believe, no seriously if you watch it on IMAX, you really feel like you’ve been transported to a haunted house.