So the wife and I were blessed to have a willing babysitter manage all 3 of my younger children, ages 9, 4, and 3 (in a month). We planned to go and see The Martian, but when we arrived at the theater, there was only 11 seats left. Since my wife and absolutely loathe full theaters, we decided that we'd see Crimson Peak instead. The joys of living in a small town means that most of the time the theaters aren't generally packed, but since the rave reviews of The Martian are consistent, my little community came in droves and overwhelmed us. However, we were still treated to Guillermo del Toro's newest mindf*** of a horror in Crimson Peak.
As we sat down and enjoyed our Harkins popcorn and nachos, we were both dissapointed in not being able to meet our initial criteria but still excited at the prospect of what this change might entail. We have really enjoyed del Toro's films in the past, especially Don't Be Afraid if the Dark, Mimic, and of course the amazing Pan's Labyrinth, not to mention many other fun films he's been involved in. The film is set around the turn of the last century, either just before or just after 1900 - I missed that detail unfortunately. It centers on Edith Cushing (played by the enchanting Mia Wasikowska), a budding author and young woman who lives with her father after her mother passed from the Black Plague years earlier. She admits early on that believes and has seen ghosts, recounting her mother's ghastly visit days after her death. The instant we as the audience visualizes her mother's ghost on screan, del Toro's unique vision and style erupts from the disfigured-by-plague shell. The mother heeds a warning to the young girl to 'beware of Crimson Peak'.
Flash forward a decade and we meet that young girl grown up and full of life and hope. She presents her novel to a publisher with negative results, and is then introduced to the snide and talented Tom Hiddleston (Loki folks. Yep.) who proceeds to woo our young and innocent Edith. Hiddleston plays Sir Thomas Sharpe, a baronette who is requesting finances to support his invention - support from Ediths' father and other wealthy businessmen. We are also introduced to Lucille Sharpe (the stunning Jessica Chastain), the sister of Sir Thomas.
After some plot is built and the loving relationship between Thomas and Edith bloom, tradegy strikes, and Edith chooses to marry Thomas and move to his decrepit Adderdale Hall in the England countryside. The home rests upon a clay hill, and after years of muggy rain and humidity, is sinking slowly into the red-stained clay - the clay that the Sharpe family is initially wealthy for in terms of selling it as a manufacturing supply. Once Edith and her new husband settle in, the ghosts return to Edith's life.
Instead of spoiling any well-crafted plot points, I will simply remind you that Del Toro is a wizard at screenplays. His ability to craft elusive and connecting stories has always intrigued me, and he is becoming one of my favorite director/screenwriters in recent years. The tale evolves from a mild ghost tale with some decent scares into a disturbing murder mystery with some sneaky twists dotted throughout. Once the young newlywed starts to more accurately percieve her surroundings and situation, the tale turns even more darker, with a sinister twist from an surprising character.
Rounding off the cast is Charlie Hunnam playing the original love interest for Edith. He instantly measures Thomas as a mediocre match for the darling Edith and pursues a personal investigation on the Baronette, with distasteful results. All in all, the cast really shines, with Jessica Chastain really showing some creative chops as the wry sister who ends up having the most surprises. The real star of the movie is the building itself. It's deterioration and neglect ultimately displays his nefarious intentions, as all good haunted houses do. The souls confined within are menacing and angry, and thered clay seeps through the floorboards and surrounding outside gardens, creating a bloody landscape for the characters.
This is definitely a movie worth watching and enjoying with someone who is a both a suspense/horror fan AND a little queasy. The spectrals that visit Edith are of the most disturbing I have imagined in my worst nightmares. The ethereal effect their anger portrays flows towards our Edith like wispy winds, but when solidified, have the potential to frighten your inner demons. Watch this film, but be able to exit the theater in daylight - you will not enjoy driving to your home in darkness.
Last edited 10-20-2015 at 07:15 PM by porschephiliac.
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