Recently seen movie: Crimson Peak
“Crimson Peak” is one of my highly anticipated movies for this year so I caught it on the first day of showing. I went with high expectations because the director is Guillermo Del Toro, he who gave us “Blade 2”, “Pan’s Labyrinth”, the two “Hellboy” movies and most recently, “Pacific Rim”. Trailers of this film successfully stimulated my interest. I happen to admire GDT’s visual aesthetics, which is indelibly stamped in all his movies.
In this regard, Crimson Peak did not fail me. I almost had sensory overload just looking at every visual treat and listening to the musical score that evoked both wonder and fear. Allerdale Hall, the imposing and dilapidated mansion in this movie made Hill House in “The Haunting” (1999) look like a cottage. One can, in fact say, that this haunted house on steroids is this movie’s main star.
This movie has buckets of atmosphere; its sense of foreboding permeates every nook and cranny of the sceneries, which range from New York of the late 19th Century to rural England. And believe me, there are thousands of nooks and crannies in this movie. Along with torrents of blood. Each visual cue, whether emanating from the surroundings or seen on the faces of the actors, is an appeal for me to be frightened.
Unfortunately, for a Gothic horror movie, Crimson Peak isn’t really frightening for me.
Blame my long standing love for the horror genre. I’ve been reading horror books and watching horror TV shows and movies for years that I no longer scare easily now. Not really. At my age, I am still able to enjoy–and appreciate–a good scare.
Watching Crimson Peak felt like watching one of those Hammer films of the 60s and those Italian horror movies from the 70s. The plot was, sorry to say, predictable. I mean, the classic tropes of haunted houses, restless spirits, and murderous husbands are practically begging to be deconstructed/ revised/ updated for the current times and I expected Crimson Peak to turn these old horror tropes on their coiffed heads but GDT just gave them an imposing new (haunted) home. Based on the trailers, I imagined that this movie was a retelling of Bluebeard’s tale; that Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) was an immortal who sustained his long life through his brides, or something like it. Instead I got incestuous siblings who murdered socially awkward women and ran off with their monies.
I must really be desensitized to horror because incest is no longer shocking to me.
The cast turned in effective performances in spite of the somewhat thin material. Mia Wasikowska is perfectly waif-ish for her role while Jessica Chastain appeared to have the best time with her role. She is both ravishing and menacing as Lucille. Tom Hiddleston could have narrated the whole movie and I wouldn’t have minded. His voice is simply divine. Charlie Hunnam acted like he was still in “Nicholas Nickleby” (2002). I only knew Jim Beaver from the TV series “Supernatural” so his presence in this movie was a welcome surprise. His grisly demise iss one of the highlights of the movie.
If the main star of this movie is Allerdale Hall, the main protagonist is probably the set design. As a character, the intricately decorated surroundings drives the viewer to great imaginings and anticipation of horrific things to come, before unexpectedly showing us, in the end, that there isn’t much horror to be had. This is the plot twist that’s enough to kill all plot twists.
Nevertheless, I will watch this movie again, just to be lost in the curlicues of Allerdale Hall’s wooden confines, or in the puffed sleeves of Edith Cushing’s (Mia Wasikowska) night gown, which seemed to grow larger and more diaphanous as the movie plodded along its snowy and bloody track.
Posted on October 20, 2015, in review and tagged 2015, Charlie Hunnam, Crimson Peak, gothic, Guillermo Del Toro, haunted house, horror, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, movie, Nicholas Nickleby, The Haunting, Tom Hiddleston. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.