Film Review: Crimson Peak
Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak is a horror that combines a traditional gothic style with gore. The film is heavy on style, even if the substance slightly lacks.
Edith Cushing is the daughter of a wealthy American businessman. When a mysterious English baronet and his sister come to town, Edith is beguiled by him. Her interest in Thomas Sharpe, however, comes at a price…
Crimson Peak has the hallmarks of a traditional gothic horror, albeit with a heady dose of gore. The film is a visual feast, an extravagance for the eyes. Director Guillermo del Toro has created a highly stylised world in Crimson Peak.
Del Toro and co-writer Matthew Robbins strive for a traditional gothic horror with Crimson Peak. All the tropes of a classic gothic horror are present; the mystery, the duality, the shadowy characters, the foreboding house. The sense of mystery is strong, and functions well to reel in viewers.
Where the film falters is in the execution of its narrative. A couple of the films plot points do not bear scrutiny. The climax of Crimson Peak is protracted, and loses momentum as a result. The film would have more gripping if pacing had been tighter. Some of the aspects which are revealed in the film’s conclusion, clearing up some of the mystery, may feel a bit disappointing given the build up. Furthermore, there is some awkward expository dialogue.
There is great attention to detail in Crimson Peak‘s visual style. The film is a paean to engorgement. Colours are intoxicating in their saturation, and lighting is suitably striking. Sets are archetypically gothic, and costumes are fantastically outlandish. Mia Wasikowska is well cast as heroine Edith. Tom Hiddleston aims for an undercurrent of distrust as Thomas Sharpe. Jessica Chastain is wonderfully theatrical as Lucille.
It is a shame that the narrative of Crimson Peak do not match its visuals. As it stands, the film is enjoyable but flawed.