Every time October comes around, I make it my mission to go and see a bone chilling scary movie that has me jumping every five minutes. That being said I would also like to see a great story to go along with my shrill feminine screams.
When I originally heard about this Guillermo Del Toro film I was intrigued by the casting choices; Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, and Charlie Hunnam doing a horror film? There has to be more to this film then pure horror; that is the problem though...there is no horror.
Guillermo Del Toro himself classifies it as a "ghost story and gothic romance." That still sounds interesting to me, but once I watched the final product I was left severely disappointed.
The film follows Edith Cushing as she falls in love with entrepreneur Thomas Sharpe who comes from England to America in search of funding for a machine that he wishes to harvest rare clay from his land that can be used for many purposes. She and Thomas leave America after her fathers death.
Arriving at Thomas and his sister Lucille's beautiful mansion, Edith begins to notice strange noises in the house, along with Lucille's strange behavior. It begins Edith on a journey to find out that the man of her dream's is not quiet what he seems and that he has more than a few skeletons in his closet, or "crimson" ghosts in this case.
This Film Never Gets a Chance to be a Gothic Romance:
The first hour of the film goes by so fast that if you blink your eyes, you have already missed a crucial bit of dialogue and the screen pans to another scene.
There is obvious chemistry between Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska, but the film moves from scene to scene so fast that you never get to truly see the couple fall in love.
We get a few scenes where they are flirting and then all of a sudden they are madly in love and getting married. Most of the love they clearly developed needs to be assumed by the audience.
While Technically a Ghost Story, the Actual Ghosts are Secondary to the Plot:
Going into this movie after seeing the trailers and commercials I was so sure that this film was going to terrify me, but I honestly cannot recall a moment where I was even the least bit frightened.
The film has ghosts in it, but their only purpose for being there is to warn our protagonist about Crimson Peak. They do little more than pop up occasionally for symbolism of the past, that seems unneeded.
Del Toro classified it as a ghost story, but the story was more about the terrible greed, betrayal, and infidelity that the living can cause to one another. That would not be such a bad story line if it was executed better.
It honestly seems like a movie that was originally supposed to be an artistic film, that some random dude came in and said "I wanna put a ghost here, here, here, and here!"
If you are looking for an actual scary movie then you will be disappointed.
The Twist Can be Seen a Mile Away:
I will not spoil anything for you, but the film essentially solves all the mystery before it even begins. The motives of Thomas and Lucille are shown early on and you would have to not be paying attention to not see how they plan on executing their motives. Essentially most of the film is full of cliches.
The BIG twist is one that is not so subtly hinted from the very beginning of the film. You kind of sit there say "that was odd," then twenty minutes later you go, "are they really gonna do that," and an hour later you do a fist pump a yell "called it" in the theatre.
The gothic set design and clothing are truly beautiful. They did an amazing job at bringing the set to life. While the story could easily be forgotten, I will never forget the first moment I watched Edith walk into the mansion and see all the beautiful gothic structures and designs.
The plot was thin, but the film was almost saved by the acting of all the cast involved. Hiddleston, Wasikowska, and Hunnam did great jobs with their characters for what they were given, but the true star of the film was Jessica Chastain.
Her performance was haunting and I can easily say that she was the only thing that actually came close to being scary in the film. While her performance could be viewed as a bit of overacting, I think she played the character the exact way Del Toro wanted her to, and she did it a lot better than most actresses would have.
To Sum it Up:
I am severely disappointed in this film. Based on the trailers I truly thought it might be a transcendent film in the horror genre, but it's lack of horror and lack of a story line makes it an unfortunate waste of money for the casual moviegoer.
That being said, the list of people who could enjoy this film are:
- Gothic Genre Lovers
- People Who Enjoy Finding Symbolism in Film
- Guillermo Del Toro Fans
- Tom Hiddleston Fans
Maybe my feeble mind can just not comprehend the genius that is Guillermo Del Toro - I do believe he is a brilliant film maker - but this film did not keep me on the edge or leave me thinking about the deeper meaning behind it.
If you are looking to see a scary movie this Halloween then I would recommend you either save your money and give the next Paranormal Activity a chance next week. Yeah you'll probably still be disappointed in the story, but at least you'll get a good jump scare or two.
Crimson Peak is an odd artistic movie that had a few ghosts sprinkled in. You have a better chance of getting more horror out of Goosebumps.