REVIEW: Crimson Peak


Crimson Peak, a film written and directed by Guillermo del Toro (co-writer Matthew Robbins), was released in cinemas on October 16th, just in time for some great Halloween spooks and scares.

The film consists of well-known stars such as Mia Wasikowska (The Kids Are All Right, Alice in Wonderland), Tom Hiddleston (The Deep Blue Sea, Thor), Jessica Chastain (The Martian, Lawless) and Charlie Hunnam (Pacific Rim, 3,2,1…Frankie Go Boom). This all-star cast is brought together through a complex yet enthralling ghost story, notably not a horror film despite its initial aesthetics, but still a flick that had me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end.

Who’s Who?

Within the film, the lines of good and evil are blurred when bad choices are mixed with innocent and good intentions. These lead to horrifying revelations and a house that’s alive in its own right. Wasikowska plays a young author (Edith Cushing) who although advised to write romance stories, prefers to put her name to a good ghost story or two, setting her out to be an unusual woman of her time. In comes Hiddleston as Sir Thomas Sharpe, a dashing and handsome protagonist, to sweep young Edith off of her feet and whisk her off to his home, Allerdale Hall which is better known as Crimson Peak. They dare not breathe, let alone travel without the ominous company of his sister, Lady Lucille Sharpe (Chastain) to keep an eye on them, bringing to mind those awkward encounters with siblings that have a bond so close it’s unfathomable. Last but not least, a character trying to lead a righteous and heroic path is Hunnam as Dr. Alan McMichael. Having known Edith for some time he swears to protect her even if she shut him out.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Del Toro stuck to his usual genre preference of fantasy with Crimson Peak, stating he wished for the film to stand out from found-footage horror films, for this film to be a throwback. As the director, he made sure the film was detailed meticulously. Elements such as clothing and sets had so much detail weaved into them even the most unobservant eye would not be able to bypass them. Crimson Peak cannot simply be labeled as horror though. The closest would be gothic horror but even then the term does not encompass all the film has to offer in terms of style.

The film was due for an initial release in April 2015 (work began on it in February 2014), but the studio decided to delay the date in order to fit in with Halloween. Personally I hadn’t heard of the film until its trailer appeared on one of those YouTube pop ups, and afterward, I was elated to hear that ghost stories were enjoying another rebirth at the cinema.

More than this though, there’s a struggle to find fault with the film. The romance doesn’t take centre stage in the way you’d expect it to. Edith doesn’t suddenly gain godlike powers in her final battle, and she certainly doesn’t have a stereotypical ending. The actors did a wonderful job, constantly evolving with a full development of their personalities being the result. Chastain in particular had arguably the hardest role to act out but did so without faltering, causing a strange mix of both loathing and pity for Lady Lucille.

If there is anything I could fault it with, the film sometimes diverged off the main plot point too far, frustrating when all I wanted to see was what was going to happen next. However it wasn’t all bad, as the film does a great job of setting a fairly calm atmosphere before building you up to its ‘scares’ which leave you shaken for a couple of minutes.

Crimson Peak is still in cinemas, and you can catch it at the ODEON in Southampton. It can be viewed in either normal format or IMAX, which offers an especially immersive atmosphere in which to experience the film. Go see with friends or family for a great choice this Halloween!

Odeon IMAX Cinema Southampton

State-of-the-art cinema for blockbusters in 2-D or 3-D format, plus family and student deals.

Address: Leisure World, W. Quay Rd, Southampton SO15 1RE

Phone: 020 3411 2672