ByJames Wood, writer at
Unabashed Transformers fan. Man crush on Tom Hardy. Avid fan of Tommy Wiseau's cult disasterpiece The Room.
James Wood

One thing you can admire about Crimson Peak is the fact that it is not part of a franchise, nor is it a sequel or reboot. It is an original story, and 2015 was a year full of franchise additions, so it's nice to see something fresh amongst all the popular, ever-growing film series. This film blends several genres together, Guillermo Del Toro's latest is a gothic horror romance drama. Some of these genres work well in the mix, others not so much, therefore a rather uneven tone is evident throughout this movie.

I didn't really care for the plot all that much. A girl haunted by her dead mother, a warning, a man looking for investment for his mining invention and a seemingly unstable sister watching from afar. Edith Cushing and Thomas Sharpe fall for one another, whilst Lucille Sharpe has mystery clouding her character. With Cushing's father deceased, she moves into the Sharpe's mansion in the British country, and it is not long before strange happenings begin to occur around the eerie home.

Crimson Peak has the setup to be a solid and spooky horror film, if it had gone down the same route of The Woman In Black or The Awakening, as in focusing on just the horror genre and have the character Edith investigate the strange goings on in the mansion with elements of the gothic genre thrown in, I feel there would've been a more even tone, and the drama would come from the fact she's dealing with ghosts of her past and ghosts that haunt this setting. The gothic feel already comes from Del Toro's amazing set design and attention to detail of the period. The whole romance is so drawn out and uninteresting, I didn't care all that much about the mining story. It may have been more compelling if the digging contraption had dug up something that unsettled the spirits that live within the home.

Either way, what's done is done and I feel there is a lot of missed potential here. There are some well timed jump scares, and I actually liked the design of the ghosts that stalk the sprawling corridors in the film. Mia Wasikowska is terrific as Lady Edith Cushing, she asserts authority in the beginning of the film but as events unfold, Wasikowska peels back layer after layer of depth, emoting more and showing a convincing face of fear and confusion. Jessica Chastain, one of my favourite actresses, does a great job at stirring mystery and darkness around her character. I'm glad she got to cut loose at the finale and go crazy as the reveal comes to light. Tom Hiddleston too delivers a rousing sense of wonder and secrecy, leaving you in the dark for the majority of the film. Charlie Hunnam, Burn Gorman and Jim Beaver round out a tip top supporting cast.

It's a shame when the talent onscreen and style behind the camera is mostly letdown by a dull story, a wobbly tone and only mild bursts of excitement and shock. I would say to all give this film a go, you may find something to enjoy more than me, but it's a one watch only this time I'm afraid.


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