Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Starring Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam
Review by Jordan
Frequently during my viewing of Crimson Peak, Guillermo del Toro’s 9th and worst film, I found myself wondering why it wasn’t Hellboy 3 I was viewing instead, and where from the farthest recesses of the renowned director’s mind could the thought of occurred that making this arduous experience was a good idea.
Edith (Mia Wasikowska) is a hopeful author haunted by the specter of her dead mother, who creeps and slithers through the hallways and rooms of her daughters home to warn her to beware of the mysterious Crimson Peak. This ghost inspires Edith to write her own novel, and when enigmatic stranger Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) takes interest in it as well as the young dreamer herself, she throws caution to the wind to marry him and live in his decaying Allerdale Hall in England, where if the ghosts and sinking mansion aren’t enough to disturb her, his obsessive, pianist sister will be.
In this mansion is where the majority of the horror elements and intrigue are supposed to be found, but ultimately this film are about as scary as the Halloween dress-up section of a family department store, and the plot as interesting as staring at the details in the brick wall on which the cinema screen is placed (something I found myself doing on multiple occasions), with the end result then made all the more baffling when one also considers the array talent in front of the camera, who appear to have deliberated at some point during production and agreed that they’d all act poorly so as to save Jessica Chastain all the embarrassment.
I’m of course exaggerating some elements, but I can’t stress enough my disappointment. With every attempted scare comes an inexcusable assault to the eardrums, the dim color scheme emboldened by ever present splashes of red, blue and emerald green is over-stylized to recent Tim Burton levels and we get presented with a heroine whose decision making and reactions to ghostly encounters are the very reason the horror genre is marginalized.
Del Toro is one of the finest directors of fantasy with macabre flavorings in the business, and his eye for creative detail has never been questioned; Cronos is a brooding, mature vampire fable, Pan’s Labyrinth is devastating yet beautiful and Hellboy II: The Golden Army deserves to be recognized as one of the finest and funnest comic book adaptions ever made. These films have elements of horror but don’t rely on frights to satisfy an energetic audience, but rather an involving world and journey, and it’s this combination that Crimson Peak should’ve too aspired to instead of serving up lackluster shocks and a plot as dreary as the grey skies it takes place in.
An important character has his head pulverized on a bathroom sink and is found dead lying in a pool of his own blood, and in a moment of inspiration the local doctor suspects that something doesn’t quite seem right… I’m clearly not as smart as the Buffalo mortician, but I too believe that something doesn’t quite seem right with this movie.