During the promotional campaign for Crimson Peak, director Guillermo del Toro has been adamant that his new film isn’t a horror movie. Rather, it’s a gothic romance. With ghosts. And blood.
It may sound like the director doth protest too much, but he’s not wrong; if anything, there are more laughs in Crimson Peak than there are scares. (Of course, this depends on your sense of humor. We laughed, but maybe that was wrong.) There are ghastly moments, for sure, but mostly del Toro’s movie is a beautiful homage to the Hammer Films of yesteryear.
That said, there are plenty of frightening things in Crimson Peak—maybe not intentionally, but they’re still scary.
Watching any of the trailers for Crimson Peak it would be easy to presume that this whole film takes place in rural England, in the confines of the haunted mansion of Thomas (Tom Hiddleston) and Lucille Sharpe (Jessica Chastain). And you’d be close, except you wouldn’t be close at all; it actually starts in early 20th century Buffalo. Yes, the birthplace of hot wings. Spoooooky.
All movies use ADR, or Automatic Dialog Replacement, to fill in vocal tracks after the fact; maybe the original line was flubbed, or maybe it was never filmed at all. But Crimson Peak suffers from some supremely off ADR—on more than one occasion, whatever is being said simply doesn’t match up with the mouth movements of the characters.
Most of us love Hiddleston for playing Loki, but while the trickster was nominally the big bad of The Avengers, he’s also the most lovable/likable bad guy the Marvel Cinematic Universe has given us. Everyone liked that guy. In Crimson Peak we’re supposed to fall in love with him—hey, Mia Wasikowska does—but never really trust him, or his weird-ass sister. This is highly unsettling, and decidedly not cool.
If ever there was a case for the importance of the internet, it’s the ease with which you can give potential suitors background checks—something Crimson Peak could have used.
Crimson Peak’s protagonist is a young female author named Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska). She’s smart, happy to be left alone, and confident in her talents. But, because she’s a woman, hardly anyone else in this film is as sure of her abilities. (One editor even goes so far as to say that she should write love stories instead of stories with ghosts in them. You know, lady tales.) In order to get a fair shake, she starts submitting manuscripts that she’s typed, lest her “feminine” handwriting give her away.
OK, this are supposed to be scary, and they are. They’re based on a performance by Doug Jones, who you may remember as Pale Man from Pan’s Labyrinth, and they’re creepy as all hell.
Pretty much everything about this movie is over-the-top, but when Chastain goes for it as the most unhinged person on the screen, she goes all in. Like, all in. We don’t want to spoil anything, but there’s a good 20 minutes at the end where she turns everything on its head and commands your attention for every second of it. Chastain has always been compelling onscreen, but she’s rarely afforded the opportunity to go a bat-shit like she does here. It’s delicious to watch, even if it’s so damn discomfiting. More of this, please, Ms. Chastain.Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.