With Halloween fast approaching, it’s started to get a little “spooky” in the movie theaters. The month of October is the most lucrative time for the horror genre, so you often see more than a few showing at once. Crimson Peak, however, is NOT a horror movie, according to its director, Guillermo Del Toro that is. Instead, Del Toro would like it to be categorized as a “Gothic Romance.” I’m sure if you’ve seen the trailer you would beg to differ, but I side with Del Toro here. The film is breathtakingly beautiful, story driven, deliberate, and well acted- not exactly the usual ingredients of a horror movie.
Mia Wasikowska plays Edith Cushing, a young, ambitious author in a time when it was expected that women celebrate their husband’s careers instead of their own.
Edith makes it very clear that she’s more interested in the ghost story that she’s writing than with finding a man. This, for some reason, changes almost immediately upon meeting Sir Thomas Sharpe, a once wealthy engineer from England. The first 30-45 minutes of the film is supposedly dedicated to making the audience believe that she did in fact fall madly in love with Thomas. All I was convinced of, though, is that she loved her father and he believed in her dreams. Wasikowska came off as more impressed with Thomas’s worldliness than head-over-heels in love, which would make sense had they stuck to her earlier narrative. But because they attempted to go with the “blinded by love” rationale, all of her decisions from that point forward seem inauthentic.
Before Thomas whisks Edith away to his creepy mansion in the desolate English countryside (Allerdale Hall), he introduces her to his frighteningly even-toned sister, Lady Lucille Sharpe (Jessica Chastain), who also happens to be a talented pianist. This comes in handy later when creating the unsettling ambiance of the haunted mansion.
Yes, there are ghosts in this film. Ghosts that have been beautifully crafted by advanced special effects. Seeing this movie in the theater alone, was probably not the wisest idea. The trip back to my car through the dark parking lot was certainly a tense experience.
Although the ghosts are visually terrifying, they have no malice in their intentions. The only beings that mean to inflict bodily harm at Allerdale Hall are human beings. Dun dun dun dun!
The mystery is fairly easy to solve, but that dosen’t mean that those theories aren’t horrifying when physically manifested.
Although I assume that Del Toro meant for his “gothic romance” to be between Edith and Thomas, the far more compelling love story was Thomas and Lucille’s (no matter how twisted it was).
Jessica Chastain (as per usual) stole the show. In fact, I’d like to see her name on the Oscar ballot for supporting actress. Her Lucille was passionately monstrous, with enough restrain to make her measured dialogue as unsettling as her gruesome actions.
Crimson Peak definitely has its “jump out of your seat” scares, but it’s the tormented psychological motivations of the Sharpe siblings that leave your skin crawling.