Hi everyone, Bryan Here…
When Guillermo Del Toro makes a movie, you pay attention, but a ticket, strap yourself in the seat, and prepare your eyeholes for something that is guaranteed to thrill you, chill you, and fulfill you. With a resume that includes ‘Pan’s Labyrinth‘, ‘Hellboy I & II‘, ‘Blade II‘, ‘Pacific Rim‘, and ‘The Devil’s Backbone‘, you know for sure, you’re in for something special when Del Toro is involved. That brings us to his latest masterpiece of cinema, ‘Crimson Peak‘. Now I know that the trailers for ‘Crimson Peak‘ paint a picture that makes this look like a straight horror film, which is not the case here.
Guillermo set out to make one of those rare Gothic-Romance stories, something that hasn’t been done well in a long time. There are some frightening moments in the film of course, but there aren’t a ton of “jump at you” scares, which is a breath of fresh air from all of the recent horror movies as of late. Instead, this is a slow burn of terror that follows a woman who falls in love with someone who is not who he appears to be. Guillermo and Matthew Robbins’s script allows enough time to set up each character with good amount of backstory, so that we may connect with them.
Even the villains. Set in the late 19th century, we center on a young female author named Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), who lives with her wealthy father (Jim Beaver), and is mostly courted by a local doctor named Alan (Charlie Hunnam). One day, a man comes into town by the name of Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), and with his British accent, he charms Edith and tries to secure funding from Edith’s father for a new invention back in England. The two fall for each other and after an accident, Edith moves to England with Sharpe and his sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain).
Once at the Sharpe estate, which is a run-down, creepy looking mansion, or something that would have suited Vincent Price and Edgar Allan Poe quite well, things take a turn for the worse. Edith begins hearing and seeing strange noises and frightening apparitions that seem to be after her, or at least trying to tell her something. All the things that go bump in the night come full force, and is executed flawlessly by Guillermo’s eye. Sooner than later, Edith starts discovering who the Sharpes are and where they came from, which is not very pleasant to say the least.
In between the scary moments, we get a look at the relationship between Thomas and Edith, which has a very ‘Romeo and Juliet’ vibe to it, but we also get the relationship angle from Lucille’s angle as well. Lucille is an excellent character to watch through the entire film and see her past through stories that made her what she is today. Del Toro’s camerawork has eerie similarities to Stanley Kubrick. Everything is perfectly famed and symmetrical with a ton of great tracking and slow moving shots. The pace is even on par with ‘The Shining‘ from Kubrick, which lets all hell break loose in the finale.
This Gothic-Romance-Ghost-Story is a home-run for Del Toro, and I’m sure ‘Crimson Peak‘ will remain in people’s minds for a while.
– Bryan Kluger