Mia Wasikowska stars as Edith, a writer whose stories contain ghosts yet she doesn't consider them ghost stories as she believes ghosts to be a very real entity ever since her dead mother appeared to her when she was younger and warned her away from a place called 'Crimson Peak'. Edith is wooed by the devilishly charming Thomas Sharpe, a man who dresses very old fashioned and lives in the crumbling and seemingly ghost infested Allerdale Hall in Cumberland England with his mysterious sister whom both seem to be possessing deadly secrets.
Director Guillermo Del Toro is renowned for his unique and beautiful practical design, most notably with Pans Labyrinth and the comic book series Hellboy, Del Toro is a visual master yet some complain that some of his films don't contain even substance to match that style and unfortunately Crimson Peak is the one of those times. Crimson Peak is a beautiful looking film, it's shot very well and the wonderfully detailed and lively set of Allerdale Hall/Crimson Peak is very impressive, but the story is something to be desired.
Crimson Peak has been marketed heavily as a haunted house film and whilst it does contain those elements, it's not the horror many of us were hoping for. It's a Gothic Romance, centering on Edith and Thomas' relationship and indeed there are ghosts, but they don't really make a large impact on the story. Del Toro has made a film which has one foot in the real world and one foot in the paranormal yet it's from the real world where true evil lies. Del Toro isn't interested in scaring you but captivating you with this oddly attractive world he's created.
The costume design, production design and wonderful cinematography make Crimson Peak a delight to sit through. These elements to the film are so powerful and staggeringly beautiful that you may find yourself becoming lost with the story which doesn't make much of an effort to grab you anyway.
Del Toro uses some magnificent imagery in the film, often designing Edith as a yellow Butterfly. Jessica Chastain's Lucille tells Edith that the butterflies in the house are all eaten by the big dark moths that live there which is very similar as to what happens to Edith. She's a beautiful thing slowly being eaten away at by this ghastly and rotting house she now lives in.
The characters are wonderful, the two that really stand out are Thomas and Lucille Sharpe. From the moment they step on screen there's something off about them despite their best efforts to seem normal which Thomas admittedly pulls off a lot easier. Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers) and Jessica Chastain (The Martian) are wonderful in the roles and Mia Wasikowska (Lawless) whilst not as memorable is very good in the lead also. The romance between Edith and Thomas does seem slightly rushed but it's hard to argue why these two would fall for each other. Edith is a bright and beautiful woman with aspirations and Thomas is at face value the most charming man alive. But other than the 'actual' characters in Crimson Peak the most impressive of them all is Crimson Peak itself, the house in which the story takes place. The crumbling floors, blood like clay oozing from walls and protruding through floorboards, snow billowing through doorways and through the open roof and the meticulous detail of all the rooms in the old house make it very much alive.
Crimson Peak is a wonderfully atmospheric, beautifully designed and well acted Gothic Romance that doesn't have the most intriguing story but is a delight to watch.
Have you seen Crimson Peak? If so, let me know your thoughts on the movie in the comments or on Twitter @JamesPorter97