THIS IS NOT A HORROR MOVIE! Both Guillermo del Toro and the audience found this movie to be marketed in a way that unjustly narrows everyone’s perception of what Crimson Peak actual is. It’s a Gothic romance. With that being said, let’s evaluate this movie for what it is and not what Universal Pictures wanted it to be.
In Crimson Peak, Edith Cushing (Wasikowska) is a writer for some reason and falls in love with Thomas Sharpe (Loki) who’s an inventor. They move into a creepy house with Thomas’ sister (Jessica Chastain) where some creepy-ass shit happen. I don’t know about you, but if I entered a creepy house and saw that it was oozing red slime, I’d be bit freaked out to say the least.
Being a Del Toro film, you’d come into it with some high standards. Unfortunately a lot of these standards aren’t met. I’ve always had a problem connecting with his movies, sure, they look cool and he has a very distinct style but what else is there? No Del Toro movie exhibit such flaws in his vision better than Crimson Peak. Of course, the sets and costumes are gorgeous and I had a hard time keeping my eyes off of Jessica Chastain’s wardrobe. Hell, the costumes were so nice that the movie didn’t even want to take them off during sex. The house itself is like Alice’s wonderland (get it?), you’re not quite sure what to expect when characters turn the corner. It’s great to keep you guessing even though the movie is pretty damn predictable. So are these visuals worth seeing it in IMAX? Hell no.
The music written by Fernando Velázquez is one of the more memorable elements of the movie. It has some cool themes and beautiful melodies that fit the film’s atmosphere perfectly. There were times where it’s able to mickey-mouse the plot beats just like as if it’s trying to imitate an old school Gothic film which it clearly was trying very hard to. But there were also a lot of cutting to black as the music was climaxing and it does this one old school scene transition until it just sort of gives up doing. I’m not sure if this added anything to the movie but it’s there… and it’s annoying. The movie also has the habit of lingering on it’s “oh fuck” moments for way too long to the point where it no longer feels like the movie is nudging you to pay attention to foreshadowing and clues but instead it feels like the movie is shoving these clues down your throat.
There’s a standout performance by Jessica Chastain that pretty much carries the entire movie, though some of it was a bit too wacky. Tom Hiddleston is good and so is Mia Wasikowska. They two have chemistry but the movie didn’t really set up their love for each other enough for it to really mean anything. The lines that these actors work with are mediocre at best and in no instance did it feel romantic or horrifying.
So if Crimson Peak isn’t much of a romance either and it’s not a horror film, then it’s just a Gothic. But what the hell does that even mean? The first third of the movie could’ve been cut out; the ghosts and jump scares could’ve been cut out; the sex could have sexier, and the editing could’ve been tighter. This movie is all over the place and struggles to decide on what it really wants to do rather than actually doing anything that matters. If it weren’t for the sets and costumes and Jessica Chastain, there would be nothing here for anyone. Eye protein my ass, this is just candy. You eat it, it’s nice in the moment, then you get cavities.