Movie Reviews

Published on October 14th, 2015 | by gareth


Crimson Peak

For Writer/Director Guillermo del Toro horror and the supernatural go hand in hand with much of his work. From Pan’s Labyrinth” to The Strain, and “Hellboy” his unique mix of visuals and compelling characters have made him a darling of the genre.

In his new film “Crimson Peak”, the setting is the cold locales of Buffalo New York and Rural England during the late 1800s, and one where the weather both cold and wet play important parts in the look and plot of the film.

For Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), life is exciting as despite the loss of her mother, her wealthy and supportive father has arranged for her to see her potentially see her stories published. As an avid writer, Edith holds that she has seen the ghost of her mother a secret and uses this as central themes of her writing.

Naturally this does not go well with the times, and she is urged to focus on romantic stories instead. Undaunted, Edith soldiers on unaware that her sheltered and privileged world is going to be upended by the arrival of the dashing Thomas (Tom Hiddleston), and his sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain), who have come to America to secure funding for their business ventures.

Tom came from a wealthy background and has fallen on hard times which have forced him to look for backers abroad. Edith’s father takes a disliking to him and even more so when he begins to court his daughter.

When her father pays off Thomas to leave when parts of his past are uncovered, things become complicated when Edith’s father is brutally killed and it is passed off as an accident. Grief stricken Edith marries Thomas and relocates to his home in England with Lucille to await her inheritance.

Of course things are not as they seem, and the home in which she lives is filled with dark secrets and Edith must find a way to survive the nightmare to which she has become a part of.

The film has some great visuals and a strong cast, but does tend to plod along. It is less of a horror story and more of a drama as the Supernatural element is there mainly to support aspects of the story rather than be the driving point.

My biggest issue with the film aside from pacing was that I was able to figure out where the story was going, twists and all within the first 30 minutes so there were no real surprises for me as it unfolded.

That being said, it was a pleasant enough diversion, I just do not think it will deliver the thrills and chills that audiences are expecting as it is more of a turn of the century drama than a horror film.

3 stars out of 5

Second Review by

Sasha Glenn

Set in the late 19th century, “Crimson Peak” is a gothic romance and ghost story. It tells the tale of Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), a young American lady of high society, as she gets pulled into a world of morbid fantasy.

When mysterious stranger Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) shows up in town to propose an invention idea to Edith’s father, he is enamored with Edith. After the abrupt death of her father, Edith falls into the arms of Sharpe and becomes his wife. She is whisked away to England to live with Sharpe and his sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain).

Ominous and foreboding, the Sharpe’s Victorian mansion is filled with mystery and darkness. Edith soon becomes tormented by the dark energy lurking in the house. She finds that there are even worse things to be afraid of when she learns the wicked truth that love can create monsters out of people.

There is not a whole ton of mystery in how the plot unfolds. Though, this does not take away from the thrill. After a slow build up, it turns into a fast paced and suspenseful nightmare.

The only slightly disappointing aspect of the film is the somewhat hokey appearance of the ghosts. But don’t let this fool you into thinking it won’t be terrifying. The film is not sparing on gore. Some of its more violent scenes are actually quite disturbing.

Director Guillermo del Toro is a master of dark fantasy. But unlike his past work, including “Pan’s Labyrinth,” del Toro refers to “Crimson Peak” as a very adult film. The vivid gore and adult humor lend themselves to this sentiment.

Falling in line with del Toro’s reputation, the film has a high aesthetic value. The set and costumes are filled with intricate details, beautifully designed to create just the right amount of drama.

A deliciously creepy tale, I give “Crimson Peak” 3.5 out of 5 stars.

About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”. He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show. He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.

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