Spoiler Warning: Beware and proceed at your own risk especially if you haven't seen the movie.
There are only very few horror movies that genuinely capture my interest. In the very least, you couldn't say that Crimson Peak belongs to the horror genre. It is Gothic romance as what director Guillermo del Toro repeatedly says.
I love anything Gothic and I also adore the Victorian-era. The art and clothing of that time were beautiful. Most especially, the gothic literature of that time is broody, romantic, and mysterious. Border-line eerie, but somehow it refreshes your entire being after reading it. That's what Crimson Peak did to me. This movie is beautiful and "absurdly sentimental" in many ways and it is a good thing.
The movie starts with Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) saying that ghosts are real and she knows because she has seen them her whole life. Her "third eye" or sixth sense as some would call it, heightened when her mother died. She was never allowed to see her in the coffin. One night, she was visited by the ghost of her mother bearing warning: My child, when the time comes, beware of Crimson Peak. In the creepiest voice possible. She even attempted to caress Edith, but the young girl screamed.
Grown-up Edith, is an aspiring novelist. Seeing ghosts in real life gave her inspiration for her book about ghost romance (or something like that), but she said that the ghosts are metaphors to the past. Her story was rejected by her editor because her handwriting is too feminine, and the editor wanted her to write trashy romance novels.
Next we see Edith typing down her drafts as Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) came in, and asks for Carter Cushing (Jim Beaver) - Edith's father who is also a wealthy American businessman. Thomas seeks funding for his invention - a clay miner. Also, a lot of ironic thing happens here. It's too funny. There are also a lot of swoon-worthy moments between Edith and Thomas that Dr. Alan McMichael (Charlie Hunnam) is immediately forgotten. Though, he is someone special!
The way the story goes is that, Edith's father is brutally murdered, though it was eventually ruled accidental, Edith marrying Thomas, and eventually moving in with him in England in a run-down mansion - Allerdale Hall.
The Sharpe home is truly ghastly; the mansion sits atop the clay mine, so blood-red clay oozes out of the floorboards and the walls. The roof is also weathered by nature, so waking up in the house after a heavy snow is like walking through a winter wonderland - with all the fascination of beauty, sans the fun (because you'd have to clean that snow up eventually).
A lot of creepy things happen in this house as well. Edith didn't find out it was called Crimson Peak until Thomas mentioned it to her after they arrived home. And that was after she and Thomas slept in a depot's lodge. This was a pivotal moment in the movie because Edith wanted to leave, but she can't, and as she begins piecing the clues together (with ghosts helping her out, of course) she's already weakening.
Without giving away the rest of the story, this movie is simply mesmerizing. It delivered genuine creeps, but not in the way you would think of it. The "creep" bit, is actually disgusting, and in some ways, you could deem the psychology of it - horror. Heinous. While it isn't particularly gory, thinking of the methods would be like assaulting your own brain. The film also emphasizes that love is diverse. And sometimes, in this diversity, lies monstrosity. It can be destructive and will just revolve around vicious, yet meaningless pain. It can turn us into monsters. However, that wouldn't be love now, would it? Because true love is unadulterated, pure - and albeit painful, herein lies selflessness.
Crimson Peak isn't horrifying (for me), but it haunted me in my dreams. When I close my eyes, all I could see is Lady Lucille Sharpe (Jessica Chastain) and that moment in the movie when Edith finally discovered what the siblings are doing.
This brings us to the part when Dr. McMichael came to Allerdale Hall to fetch Edith and return to America with her. And the truth is finally out in the open. The ending is what you'd expect, although, I wish someone had survived. I had hoped that Edith wouldn't be like Mary Shelley as she foretold.
I would never have imagined anyone else playing the role of Thomas Sharpe and Edith Cushing other than Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska, respectively. They were perfect and they had an amazing chemistry. Mia is impressive as always, and seems to snag roles of period films most of the time (not that I'm complaining). I regard her in the same esteem as I do Keira Knightley who also has an array of fantastical period performances. Hiddleston is also marvelous, and I just hate the fact that he always seem to portray a character who just can't reach the end of a perfectly good movie - without dying! Jessica Chastain on the other hand, well... let's just say that she proved she's not only good in drama. Her performance in Crimson Peak was excellent. Perhaps too much, that I couldn't look at her the same way ever again.
Everything and everyone involved in this movie is commendable. Perhaps my only problem with it, is that, I find the it a bit short. I hope there is an extended director's cut if ever there would be a DVD, and we can watch the scenes that were left out in the final film. There will also be a novelization of this movie (just like Pacific Rim) which I have high hopes for, in answering the questions that lie beneath Allerdale Hall.
Overall, I must say, this movie is the exact blend of what I yearn for in Gothic romance. The movie combined supernatural with mystery and romance that sucked me in right from the start - effortlessly. It was very well executed and I just applaud everyone involved in the process of making this movie possible. It's one of those movies that will reel you in - and never, ever let you go.