ByLuke Dancer, writer at
Luke Dancer

Crimson Peak is directed by the visionary Guillermo del Toro, and stars Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain. The story and narrative of Crimson Peak, revolves around a young author named Edith (Mia Wasikowska) who's suffering from a family tragedy, and an opportunity arises to leave her tragedy behind when she meets a mysterious character of whom she falls in love with, and sweeps her away to his home in the heart of England.

Guillermo del Toro, the visionary genius that brought us worlds we thought we'd never see - the dark world of Hellboy and the fantastical world of Pans Labyrinth, has returned to create yet another brilliantly crafted world...only on this occasion its got a brilliant gothic spin. His brilliance at set design, costumes and make up create some of the most visually stunning films you'll ever see. Although Pan's Labyrinth is known to be his most visually interesting and stunning film, but Crimson Peak overtakes that mark by a mile.

The screenplay written by Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robins, is without a doubt one of the strongest elements of this film. This shakespearean language with a modern take makes dialogue between characters flow so effortlessly and smoothly throughout the film. Each and every line written you can tell has been carefully and tactically crafted, not only this but the language brilliantly captures the time period of which its set in (late 1800's) and just adds to the experience of being lost in this dark Victorian age. Crimson Peak feels as though its a brilliant piece of gothic literature written at a time when gothic authors were at an all time high, and this literature has been excellently transcended unto the big screen. Whilst the films language and dialogue were written excellently, I felt the film suffered from pacing issues. For me it felt that it was stuck in the exposition stage for too long, and took a while for the film to reach its climax which although it was brilliant, I did feel it was a bit rushed.

As I stated previously this is Guillermo del Toro's most brilliantly visual film to date. Beautiful vivid colours of crimson and scarlet seemed to run through the spine of the film, setting both the tone and mood through its connotations. The use of colour on each characters costumes were very cleverly handled, each colour reflecting on each persons personality and added emphasis on who they were as a person. Speaking of the costumes, alongside the language the costumes captured the time period as each of the costumes were crafted magnificently and as I said they told a lot about each character in the film. The cinematography by Dan Laustsen was also immaculate, wide shots and low angled shots were framed so that you would get the full feel and expanse of this great manor, as well as its daunting interior hallways and rooms.

Guillermo del Toro has stated in interviews that this is his most beloved project, and one of which he kept returning to in post-production and tinkering with in certain places. And I must say all that extra time he put into this film definitely paid off, as he has achieved a monster of detail in Crimson Peak. The manor is so intricately crafted and is one that looks straight out of the late 1800's, the great Victorian doors, long daunting hallways and interior design that makes each piece of furniture look like a physical being, furthering that fear for the protagonist over whether or not he/she is totally alone...All these expertly crafted elements to the house truly makes you think the manor is itself a living breathing character.

Tom Hiddleston steals the show indefinitely in terms of acting. From the moment he is first in frame, you know he's got something you want to know. The emotion conveyed on his face tell so many things about his character that words simply do not. Mia Wasikowska plays her part well, she plays the typical naive character who's suffering from some sort of personal lost, something seen commonly in the gothic genre, but she wasn't quite at the standard of Tom Hiddleston. Jessica Chastain is also great, although with a questionable English accent she conveys this cold and harsh character that is the sibling of Tom Hiddleston's character. This performance given by Jessica Chastain compliments Hiddleston's in the fact that they both play dark and mysterious characters that throughout the film you're dying to know more about.

Crimson Peak despite its brilliance was marketed wrongly as an all out horror. The trailer gave audiences the impression that this is an all out supernatural jump scare-fest, when in fact it delved more into shocking horror, a type of horror that can happen on a day to day basis. But due to the fact that Crimson Peak was not what it said on the tin, it doesn't make it a bad film. I feel if audience and critics sad back and enjoyed and critiqued the film on what it was and just ignore the misleading trailers, it would have achieved a better critical reception.

Crimson Peak is without a doubt one of my favourites of the year, its brilliantly acted, has beautiful language, costumes and set design and has some the best cinematography this year. Guillermo del Toro has established himself again as one of the best filmmakers working today and this is without a doubt his best looking film to date. Definitely check Crimson Peak out whilst its still in theatres.


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