You’d do well to know before you head to watch Crimson Peak that this is NOT a horror movie. Director Guillermo del Toro said in so many words. “One last time before release. Crimson Peak: not a horror film. A Gothic Romance. Creepy, tense, but full of emotion… Like my dancing,” he tweeted. While we can’t vouch for del Toro‘s dancing skills, we can tell you, he almost speaks the truth about his latest movie starring Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska and Jessica Chastain.
Truth because yes, Crimson Peak isn’t a horror movie and is a "gothic romance"; ‘almost’ because the "creepy", "tense" and "full of emotion" bits may be debatable. Guillermo del Toro is no stranger to all things dark and fantastic. The man in the past has been responsible for movies like The Devil’s Backbone, Mama, Pan’s Labyrinth, Pacific Rim and The Orphanage among others (He has also produced Kung Fu Panda 2 but that is a story for another day). With Crimson Peak, del Toro stays within his area of expertise and makes a movie that looks good, boasts of a strong cast that does well but kind of falters when one thinks ‘memorable story’.
Crimson Peak is the story of Edith Cushing (Wasikowska), a fledgling young writer and the daughter of a wealthy industrialist called Carter Cushing (Jim Beaver). Along comes a baronet Sir Thomas Sharpe (Hiddleston) who charms Edith enough to make her fall like ninepins for him and Carter scoff in disapproval. Edith and Sir Thomas get married shortly but not before Lady Lucille Sharpe (Chastain), the latter’s sister convinces everyone watching there is something very creepy about the Sharpe family. Moving to a crumbling mansion of the Sharpes, the rest of the mystery unfolds.
del Toro leaves no stone unturned to make the movie look dark and tense. However, his efforts do not entirely impress. The suspense is just not built effectively, which sufficiently proves that just the setting of a movie does not always guarantee the desired effect. There is barely a moment in the movie that makes you want to go “a-ha! That was good”. The movie is marred by a plot that eventually seems rather ordinary by the time you’ve reached the climax that you’d by then know was coming.
Besides the visual elements, what Crimson Peak rides on are the performances. Hiddleston as a baronet looks the part and plays it perfect. Wasikowska impresses too. Chastain is convincing as the mysterious Lady Sharpe but tends to go a tad over-the-top sometimes.
Crimson Peak will not be counted among del Toro’s best works but deserves a watch for sure.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
Fans of the genre and Guillermo del Toro will do well to give Crimson Peak a try. Watch it for Mia Wasikowska who looks like a million bucks and Tom Hiddleston who will rarely disappoint. It is a decent option this weekend if watching a masterpiece isn’t on your to-do list.