If you’re a comic book movie fanatic then Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak is already on your radar. I think a lot of folks though, won’t have any care for the film for a variety of reasons. Horror movies don’t tend to be as opulent with big productions like this and instead tend to be the cheap shaky cam flick to get teenagers butts into theaters. Needless to say this film is taking a big chance because of its setting, time period, and focus on the gothic macabre.
Instead of telling you why you should or shouldn’t see it I’ll let you decide based on these reasons:
5 Reasons Why You Should See This Film
It’s set at the turn of the 20th century.
This is an interesting and inventive time in world history; science was finally moving away from alchemists creating gold to real medicine. On top of that America was booming and Europe was in the dumps which sets the scene for our protagonist who goes from a rich new money American setting to an old haunted old money British home. Women were hardly independent and getting married was the expected course. It was a time when you could see flashes of modern society, but most everything still had a foot in the old world.
There are some serious scares.
There aren’t a lot of jump out scares, but when they do come they’ll get you – I’m sure of it. The film thankfully brings on the macabre in full force slowly revealing the twisted and deformed to make you freak in your seat.
Ghosts have never looked so good.
Ghosts in this film are eerie and weird with a variety of different looks. CGI monsters are all the rage and they aren’t ever that scary. I suspect del Toro used a bit of CGI and practicality to make these monsters come alive. There’s a fleshy tone to them that make them truly creepy and they sound absolutely nightmarish to boot.
You won’t ever get bored by looking at them; from creatures that drip red ooze to shadows that look almost like smoke — it appears the look of the ghosts have some meaning to them which is also fun to figure out as the movie plays on.
Freaky times for all!
The female characters are the strongest.
Though this film is set at a time when men reigned supreme all of the female characters are strong and independent. Hell even the protagonist’s father says he loves how she has a strong personality. Tom Hiddleston’s character appears to be strong, but we quickly learn he may be far from it, as he’s constantly taking orders and never sure of himself. He doesn’t know what he wants — a role women tend to get in films — and when he finally does he’s barely courageous enough to do something about it. Jessica Chastain delivers some fantastic acting too that’ll make you jump, feel creepy, and generally believe there’s nothing more scary than a woman. On top of this the women aren’t simply damsels in distress; they oftentimes must save themselves!
She steals the show!
The sets and atmosphere are spot on.
Whoever did the lighting in this film needs an Oscar. Like yesterday. In the opening scenes of Buffalo, New York there’s a bright cheery glow to everything. The American dream is on display and you can see it in the sets and lighting.
Once we get to the haunted house there’s almost always a sickly green or blue fleshing out a corner of a room. A purple dresser is thrown into a mostly dark room to add some pop and weirdness. Clay (we’ll get to that later) drips and oozes out of walls. Juxtaposed with these atmospheric underpinnings are ornately carved banisters, ceilings and furniture. It’s as if del Toro wanted to visually show us there was once money in this place, but now it’s only filled with rage and torment. This house is truly horrific and it’s all due to masterful set design and lighting.
Those walls are scary yo.
Alright there’s some good reasons to see the flick, but it can’t be perfect can it?
5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t See This Film
It takes forever to get going.
Though there is an appearance of a ghost early on the movie seems to be more interested in focusing on telling us how Americans work hard and Europeans are lazy and born into money from the get go. Sure the time period of the late 1800’s early 1900’s does suit this topic, but I’m not sure it matters much to the overall plot. Once the protagonist gets to the big creepy house there’s really no reason to have set up this concept.
Characters make stupid decisions to progress the plot.
It’s not at every turn, but there’s enough of these moments to make you slap your forehead and go, “Ugh, don’t be that movie!” I won’t spoil anything here but let’s just say don’t tell the bad guys you know all the bad deeds they did while you’re vulnerable enough to become a pincushion.
Clay. It’s all about clay!
Tom Hiddleston and his sister live in the big creepy house – trailers tell us this – but what you learn early on is they are devoting all of their resources in building a clay digging machine. Clay is a big part of this film not least of which because it looks like blood, but also because it has something to do with the American dream. Make a contraption and become rich! Okay sure, but why is there so much of this stuff throughout the film. Again, it looks like blood, but there are vats of the stuff just sitting around for no reason at all. Weird.
Why must they own vats of clay?
Charlie Hunnam falls flat.
Sure he’s not the greatest actor on the face of the planet, but he wasn’t bad in Pacific Rim. Here though he’s basically a chiselled jaw and flat line of a smile occasionally throwing a concerned expression. He plays this role so stiffly you’d wonder why they couldn’t get a robot to play the part.
Too bad they couldn’t get this robot in Star Wars.
Puffy sleeves reign supreme!
Mia Wasikowska must have had a ball wearing all the costumes they stuck her in. She was in Madame Bovary and Jane Eyre after all so she’s accustomed to dresses made of 500 pounds of fabric. But in this film… come on Mia be straight with us. Did you demand to be put in such dumb and over the top dresses? One might argue these costumes are symbolic of the wealth she came from, but it’s downright absurd to watch her tramp around a dank clay puddled basement wearing a pristine white floral dress with basketball sized shoulder poofs.
It’s easy to lose track of someone when they’re draped in the curtains.
Crimson Peak is creepy, eerie and everything you’d want in a haunted house film. I’d say it’s going to nestle itself in everyone’s favorite haunted house film lists because it’s so atmospheric, riddled with some strong female characters and has one of the best selections of ghosts ever put on film. It ain’t perfect though and certainly has its annoying traits.