Crimson Peak (2015)
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Crimson Peak is an adult fairy tale. It is populated with an innocent dreamer, an evil sister-in-law, a castle, a romance/love affair, and a hero. Oh, and it has a few ghosts. If you’re expecting a straight up horror film you will most likely be disappointed. It has aspects of horror, a mystery and a psychological thriller, but if you think of it as anything different than a fairy tale, you will probably not enjoy the film.
The first 40 minutes is a high drama and a murder mystery. It sets up the second half of the film. It successfully captures the upper echelon society of NY in the early 1900’s in mood and atmosphere. I suppose some viewers will find this boring. However, I, having firmly grasped the notion that I have been born in the wrong time period, love the atmosphere of other eras and I find the film’s dramatic events endearing to my sensibilities. The three main actors, Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, and Jessica Chastain, turn out genuinely striking performances and it was just fun to watch them adapt to the people they portrayed.
The plot points are somewhat predictable as all gothic stories follow a similar pattern. The film is beautifully dark with deep, rich colors and slow languid camera movement, creating an appealing visual palette. Although the ghosts are CG enhanced, they work well in the lush and vibrant colors of the film. The impeccable costume of the period also sells the story and adds to the visual splendor of the film. Rounding out the high production values was a powerful classical soundtrack by composer Fernando Velázquez. I liked this film and felt heartache for the tragedy that the film presents. Like all fairy tales the calamities mirror real life and I felt the weight of missteps a person can take in life.
A gothic fairy tale of high quality with adult themes and a suspenseful ending.
I give it a solid 4.0 ghastly, ghostly, nasties out of 5 on the haunted horrors of the fairy tale castle scale.
Jessica Chastain learned the piano for the movie and performed all songs in the movie by herself. She had previously learned the bass guitar for Mama (2013), where Guillermo del Toro was the producer.
Visually, Guillermo del Toro wanted the film to look like a Mario Bava Technicolor movie.