Movie Review: Crimson Peak (2015)

Posted: March 14, 2016 in horror, Romance
Tags: , ,

Crimson Peak

Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) is an independent woman growing up in Victorian era America. Ever since her mother died when she was a child, she is plagued by visions of ghosts.  She is unmarried and likes to write ghost stories.  There are two potential suitors who show interest in Edith, one is an eye doctor named Alan McMichael (Charlie Hunnam) and one is a baronet and inventor named Sir Thomas Sharpe. (Tom Hiddleston) Sharpe has invented a drill for clay mining and is seeking investors in the U.S.  Edith’s father, Carter Cushing (Jim Beaver) is highly skeptical of Thomas and hires a private investigator named Holly (Burn Gorman) to look into Thomas’ background, and when he finds information about him Carter then pays him to go back to England and break Edith’s heart, which he does. After her father is suspiciously murdered, Edith runs off to England to marry Thomas and live him and his sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain) in England in his mansion. As she goes to England, the ghosts that infest Edward’s mansion continuously warn Edith about her new surroundings.  Soon she is coughing blood and Thomas and Lucille are acting more and more suspiciously.  Back in America, Alan is trying to deduce who killed Carter. Who did kill Carter?  What are the ghosts trying to tell Edith?

I like Crimson Peak It reminds me somewhat of Jane Eyre, Edith is an independent girl who goes to England to marry a baronet.  Jane is an independent girl who starts out as a nanny and seeks equal footing with Rochester. Jane Eyre had the gothic touch, Bertha, Rochester’s wife is stashed up in the attic, in Crimson Peak, Lucille complains that she was kept in the attic by her mother.  There’s also a bit of Shakespeare, Hamlet and Ophelia thrown into the mix with the Thomas and Lucille relationship.  There are also elements from “Fall of The House of Usher” and “The Grifters.”  With touchpoints so familiar, it’s simple to see why this plot is so inviting.

“Ghosts are real.” says Edith in the very beginning of the movie, and she seems neither scared nor intimidated by them.  That is a refreshing viewpoint. There are some less than stellar moments, why would Edith, a smart girl, run off to marry a guy her dad warned her about, so soon after he was suspiciously murdered?  And for a movie that strives to be an intelligent film, and often succeeds, why does the last 15 minutes resemble a slasher film? But overall, Crimson Peak is a creepy suspenseful mystery film.

The acting is very good.  Mia Wasikowska  is very good as the spirited Edith, and yes she did play Jane Eyre in 2011.  Jessica Chastain is excellent playing the sly, seductive, secretive Lucille.  The more the viewer gets to know her, the more repulsive she is, but the more the viewer wants to know. She is proving to be a versatile actress.  Tom Hiddleston plays Loki in the Thor movies, so playing a bad guy is old hat for him, and he does it well in this movie.  He is a shyster, but a charming shyster. On the negative side, Charlie Hunnam plays the protagonist blandly, and again like Pacific Rim, struggles mightily with an American accent. Burn Gorman, who played one of my favorite roles in Pacific Rim, had a small role in this film.

Guillermo Del Toro is one of my favorite director/writers.  Pan’s Labyrinth and Pacific Rim are two of my favorite films.  Del Toro never forgets that film is a visual medium , and in this film everything seems to be bathed in red, and there is one interesting close-up of ants devouring a monarch butterfly that amps up the creepy factor.  There’s always something visually provocative in his films and I like that.

Crimson Peak:  A peek inside a creepy aristocratic family.


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