Film review: Crimson Peak (2015), directed by Guillermo del Toro
tl;dr: Uh. Ghost gives warnings that aren’t heeded. Murders and mayhem ensue.
It’s 1901 and Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) is a young woman with ambitions of becoming an author. She’s writing a ghost story, perhaps influenced by an unsettling experience 14 years earlier, when the ghost of her recently departed mother came back to warn her about something called “Crimson Peak”.
Her father (Jim Beaver), a rich businessman, declines investment into the development of a new type of clay mining equipment, invented by baronet Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston). Thomas and his sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain) have come all the way from England to ask for funding, having previously failed in three other locations, and aren’t planning on going back empty-handed. How lucky for them that Edith (despite getting another ghostly visitation from Mother Scariest, reiterating her previous warning) is very taken by the handsome young baronet.
Father and Edith’s childhood friend-slash-would-be love interest Dr Alan McMichael (Charlie Hunnam) aren’t so keen on the idea, so Edith’s dad hires a private detective (Burn Gorman) to investigate the Sharpes. Long story short, dad ends up dead, Edith ends up as Mrs Sharpe and, despite dire warnings, living at Crimson Peak: the creepy, crumbling mansion the Sharpes call home.
More creepiness ensues. Places she’s not supposed to go are gone to. Things she’s not supposed to find, or find out about, are found and found out about. And it’s all very Gothic-y and weird and exactly what you’d expect from a Guillermo del Toro film, let’s face it.
There were twists and turns, some of which were predictable (some things more than others), and then there were some things happening that I perhaps thought might work out differently than they did, and … yeah. It’s, uh, definitely a film that … happened. Did I like it? Well, I didn’t not like it. I mean … for starters, there’s Tom Hiddleston in a cravat. Then there are the solid performances by himself and the two leading ladies.
If I were to have some sort of objection, aside from you probably won’t find clay that red anywhere in England, it would be WHY THE HELL WOULD A MOTHER CHOOSE TO APPEAR LIKE THAT TO HER CHILD?! I know she’s dead and a ghost and all, but you wouldn’t come back as a ghost looking like that, would you? You’d give the poor child a mental trauma! It’s fair enough if you’re the evil spirit in The Woman in Black, but when you’re a mother concerned with the welfare of your daughter? I don’t buy it. Especially not as it didn’t exactly scare Edith out of her mind enough to go “… you know what, I’d be much happier as Mrs McMichael” anyway.
It’s a weird and creepy film, but it, uh, had its moments, I guess.
3.5 out of 5 sinking mansions.