Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) lives in New York at the turn of the 20th century and wants to be a novelist. A friendly visionist (Charlie Hunnam) loves her, but it’s Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) who’s trying to raise money to mine the unique red clay under his English estate.
When Edith’s father dies unexpectedly, Thomas and his girlfriend, Lucille (Jessica Chastain), go to Sharpe, a fantastic place filled with black butterflies; a red goop; stunning, breathtaking corridors; rooms that are banned; and ghosts; she walks away with her sister. When Edith is weaker, she wants to learn the secrets of the fantasies.
Director Guillermo Del Toro, known for his mastery in weaving the surreal with the hauntingly beautiful, shows a keen interest in crafting a ghost house narrative that delves deep into the essence of the disturbing. While the storyline skims the surface, the visual spectacle is an immersive field of artistic brilliance. The house itself emerges as a central character, an architectural marvel designed to evoke a sense of eerie wonder.
Its unique elements – the whirlwind of spinning leaves, the ominous dance of black butterflies, the pristine contrast of white snow, and the jarring presence of a bloody red clone – create a tapestry of visual storytelling that is both unsettling and captivating.
The ghosts, brought to life by the talented Doug Jones, are not just mere apparitions but are intricately carved figures of horror, their disfigured forms sending shivers down the spine. These spectral entities are more than visual effects; they are embodiments of the film’s thematic depth, representing the lingering echoes of the past and the unresolved mysteries that the house conceals within its walls.
Del Toro’s direction ensures that every element, from the minutest set detail to the overarching theme of the supernatural, works in harmony to create an atmosphere that is both opulent and ominous.
The film becomes an exploration of the thin veil between the living and the spectral, a journey into the heart of what truly terrifies us – the unknown and the unseen. In this hauntingly beautiful ghost house, Del Toro invites the audience to experience fear in its most artistic form, where every shadow and whisper adds to the narrative’s chilling allure.
Inspired by literature from the 19th century, Crimson Peak is borrowed from dark Hollywood romances such as Gaslight and Infamous.
Del Toro never gets into it; we don’t know what it feels or why these things haunt him. It’s a tribute for days gone by. The actors are all okay (especially Hiddleston, who looks like he was born for this period).
It’s more sophisticated than profound—closer than Pan’s Labyrinth to Hellboy II: The Golden Army—but it’s a new experience yet.
|October 16, 2015
|Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam
|Guillermo del Toro
|Approximately $74.7 million worldwide
|Pinewood Toronto Studios, Casa Loma (Toronto), Hamilton (Ontario), Kingston (Ontario), United States
|Gothic Romance, Horror
|The film centers around an aspiring author, who, in the aftermath of a family tragedy, becomes torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds, and remembers.