Film: Crimson Peak
Director: Guillermo Del Toro
Genre: Gothic Romance/Horror/Psychological Thriller
Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam
Country: United States
Release Dates: 15th/16th October 2015
The year is 1901. Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), a young unpublished American writer meets and falls in love with a tall and handsome English baronet and engineer, Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) who is in America on business with his sister Lucille Sharpe (Jessica Chastain). After the unfortunate death of her father, Edith marries Thomas and travels back with him home to Cumberland, England. Here, she finds herself acquainted with Allerdale Hall, the Sharpes’ crumbling and creepy mansion on top of Crimson Peak which derives its name from the red clay soil beneath. But what is more disturbing is the creepy supernatural presence in the house as well as the dark secrets being held by the Sharpe siblings.
Have you ever watched a film without even knowing what it’s about and have had your mind blown by its brilliant writing and awesome visual storytelling? On the other hand, have you ever anticipated a film for so long that once it comes out, it completely ruins every single expectation you had about it?
The latter happened to me yesterday. I watched Crimson Peak.
The first thing we noticed when we entered the theatre on a late Thursday afternoon was that it was practically empty. I don’t know why that was the case (especially since it was a declared public holiday!) but it didn’t look like a good sign especially on the first day of its release.
The setting was beautiful. Allerdale Hall was a huge dark and dilapidated house with lots of history, mystery and horror that was over-amplified with the onset of bleak and harsh winters. The overall characterizations were nicely written and the three were brilliant in their respective roles. Mia’s Edith was naive yet determined and curious as a cat to get down to the bottom of things. Tom’s Thomas was intelligent, charming, passionate about what he worked for and yet bogged down by the ghosts of his past. Jessica’s Lucille was cold, unfeeling and highly controlling. However, the character graphs did not hold many elements of surprise that could have taken the story to a whole new level.
Although the movie was rated 18+, we went in fully knowing that some sexual graphic scenes were going to be slashed by the strict local censors. This is pretty normal in this part of the world so we wouldn’t have minded so much except this time, it interrupted the flow of the story which we didn’t care for at all.
The actual ghosts were neither ghostly nor spooky. The metaphorical ghosts unearthed, were more dangerous and spine-chilling. However, their demonic power of a complex and twisted psychological nature was highly diminished by the weak and incomplete plot which had nothing to do with the gaps created by the censors and everything to do with the feeble writing. There was a wild overuse of the crimson hue (as rightly pointed out to me by my sister) and this metaphor for blood, gore and other evil things could have been toned down in our opinion.
I apologize because I know this review in no way qualifies as complete since we obviously missed out on a few scenes that could (but I doubt it!) have been crucial to the film but even so, the plot was terribly hollow and thin. I cannot discuss more of this without giving away any spoilers but let’s just say that we left the cinema hall with more questions and baffled expressions than horrified trembling faces.
Expectations were high, that much I know.
– Thistles and Whistles
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
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