It’s been some time since I saw a film, especially a horror film, that I wouldn’t change a thing. As a horror fanatic, I’ll be the first to admit when I think something is missing, but Crimson Peak was one of those rare films where I was in awe. Something that feels so original and so complete, with such wondrous style and presence to back it.
(minor spoilers below)
Edith (Mia Wasikowska) is an aspiring writer with a preoccupation with ghosts, having seen her mother’s as a child. At the time, her mother warned to “beware of Crimson Peak”, though this doesn’t appear to have meaning until 14 years later.
As a strong-willed young woman, Edith is enchanted by a charming stranger from England named Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston). Thomas is an inventor of sorts and looking to Edith’s father’s company for financing on his latest trinket. Edith’s father grows suspicious of Thomas and his sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain). As a relationship with his daughter begins to bloom, Edith’s father pays Thomas to end it. However, the next day he dies in a freak accident, and Edith is left with only Thomas by her side.
She travels back to Lucille and Thomas’ home in England to begin a new life as his wife. The house is old and practically falling apart. Instantly she begins to see things and hear strange noises. The Sharpe siblings insist it’s the quirks of the house. Lucille is very cold to Edith and grows increasingly jealous of the relationship between her and her brother.
As Edith begins to fall ill, along with a growing number of creepy encounters, she begins to explore the Sharpe’s past. And soon, she’ll find out exactly what her mother meant when she told her to beware of Crimson Peak.
What I think differs this movie from any other period piece or horror film in general is Guillermo del Toro‘s signature style. The ghosts in this film go beyond what’s typical for a non-corporeal being. They are decaying in a realistic sense, but there’s still an airy essence to them. I just thought this was so beautiful and haunting.
More impressive is the exquisite design. In a horror film, the sets can almost serve as another character. I found myself constantly in awe, and also frightened, of how the house appeared, moved, and breathed. It was reminiscent of The Haunting, in terms of just being creepy and alive itself.
I don’t want to give too much away because I really did enjoy this film, and although it’s not twist heavy, I think it would take away from the effect if I divulged more. If you’re looking for a spooky horror film to see to get in the Halloween spirit, this is it.
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