This Guillermo del Toro film wasn’t the ghost story I expected. What I found was a character-driven love story infused with elements of Jane Austen and Edgar Allan Poe.
Story (4/5) – The story focused primarily on Edith Cushing, an aspiring writer who can see ghosts. She met and eventually married a man named Thomas Sharpe, a baronet from Cumberland, England. Sharpe and his sister Lucille had come to America seeking funding from Edith’s father (played by Jim Beaver) for a clay digger that Thomas invented. Unfortunately, Edith soon discovers that her new husband and sister-in-law have many secrets hidden in their old ruined estate.
Characters (3/5) – Mia Wasikowska put in a decent performance as Edith, but the character was unfortunately unexciting. She started out strong and independent, which set her apart from the other ladies. But after her marriage to Thomas, the character lost that strength, and never really regained it fully.
The Sharpes were certainly far more interesting. Thomas, played wonderfully by Tom Hiddleston, was charming and mysterious. I found myself investing emotions in this character, with the hope that he would atone for his possible sins and find redemption in his new found love.
Meanwhile, you have Lucille, played by Jessica Chastain. Wicked and equally mysterious, she was the antagonist you expected to find in a story like this.
Direction (3/5) – Director del Toro made some great choices in this film. The ending was satisfying in that it didn’t try to give you a twist. It was a classic ending that you expected.
In fact, using “Old Skool” fades were a nice touch as well.
Execution (4/5) – The film was executed very well. The visuals were good and not overdone. The moths and butterflies were a bit off though.
The scares themselves were targeted toward establishing mood. The door knob scene near the beginning of the story is a prime example. Unfortunately, the audience I was with seemed to react mostly to the goriness at the end of the film instead.
Costuming was definitely top notch in this film. Maybe it was because I’m a sucker for bow-ties though. Equally impressive are the sets. The dark sets heightened the coldness of the story. It really made the moments of red stand out better.
Entertainment (2/5) – The movie was somewhat entertaining. It was delightfully refreshing to watch a film like this, because it draws me back to my early years of reading Poe short stories.
Overall – I give Crimson Peak 3.2 bow-ties out of 5. I probably will see this film again, but maybe on video or online-streaming.