Crimson Peak Film Review

Film Review by Mikey Lance

The Premise
Edith Cushing is running away from a childhood trauma. She marries Thomas Sharpe, a mysterious stranger. She comes to live with him and his sister, Lady Lucille Sharpe. She starts to find out that the Sharpe's home is filled with ghosts.

The Review
It doesn’t take long to realise you’re not watching a throw-together, B-grade horror movie, with a rent-a-director, lack-of-care, throw money at it, artless approach. The director of the cult film Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), or more recently, Pacific Rim (2013) and the Hellboy franchise, is known for having a creative vision the translates well from production to release, adding a noticeable stamp on his movies, known for their originality and ‘del Toro-ness’. And often, as is the case with Pan’s, there’s some in-your-face violence that doesn’t cut from screen when you expect it to.

I had seen Mia Wasikowska in other movies, but this one showed she was more than just a pretty face. We walk alongside with her (Edith) as she is introduced to Thomas Sharpe’s world. His home is striking in beauty but deteriorating quite badly with only Lady Lucile keeping the house; holes in the ceiling; plumbing that runs red, polluted by the clay mines below the house; broken machinery in the yard; a stray dog; missing wall panels; an infestation of moths… and ghosts, but, plenty of warm tea! Edith soon learns that her early life prepared for such a setting, and her detective work begins.

There are plenty of chills in this movie: the man sitting next to me in the cinema seemed to sense them coming and would lift his hand up to his brow and take a deep breath every time a scary scene began. This was followed by low groaning and tense fingers. I wouldn’t say everyone would feel that way, that’s the far end of the scare spectrum. It’s not The Conjuring or Paranormal Activity - it’s a romantic horror, meaning it wants to maintain its audience so they stay to till the end without vomiting on the person in front of them. There are plenty of frights, however, even one that had me squirm in my seat, a very seasoned horror fan.

Perhaps the only few problems I had with the film was the occasional story hole, and that the device used by certain characters to achieve their goal was far too complicated than it needed to be. Like some Bond villians who go to extraordinary lengths to confuse 007 and keep him out of the loop in a massive conspiracy, only to reveal later that that whole thing was planned, down to the most circumstantial of events. I simply felt that the antagonist in this film didn’t need to go to such extremes to achieve their evil expression. There are simple, basic ways to do it… but then where would the drama be!? 

Overall the movie was a pleasure to watch and a must-see for any gothic fan. It’s no Pan’s Labyrinth in terms of tight-knit, imaginatively original story, but it’s still a strong movie… and worth a late-night viewing with your significant other. The ghosts aren’t so bad, really. There’s plenty of romance in there to combat the ‘horror’ aspect, albeit it’s in a twisted, del Toro kind of way. 

The Verdict
A splendid movie to watch for gothic, romantic horror fans. Some story holes, but not enough compete with the beauty, strong acting and outright directorial command executed Guillermo del Toro.

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 15th October 2015
Rating: R16 – Contains Graphic violence, horror, sex scenes & offensive language
Duration: 119 minutes 
Genre:  Horror
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston
Director: Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy)

The Extras
Benedict Cumberbatch was originally cast as the male lead but left the project due to undisclosed reasons. He was replaced by Tom Hiddleston.

Tom Hiddleston asked for Benedict Cumberbatch's blessing before accepting the role as they are good friends in real life. Cumberbatch told him that it was "Amazing!" to have been replaced by Hiddleston.

Guillermo del Toro says this is the best set he's ever worked on.

Jessica Chastain had said in an interview that Tom Hiddleston had found the script incredibly frightening when he first read it.

Though the house was built in its entirety, it had to be torn down at the end of the shoot in order to make space in the studio.

Second film for Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska to work on together. The first being Only Lovers Left Alive (2013).

Everything in the house was made for the house. Nothing was reused from salvaged parts.

The shooting schedule for Crimson Peak was 68 days, which is significantly shorter than Guillermo del Toro's other recent films (Pacific Rim (2013) was 100, Hellboy (2004) was 135).
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Guillermo del Toro wrote 11 or 12 versions of the film before settling on the final draft. He was coming up with new scenes during production.