Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Written by Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam, Jim Beaver
The first thing to know about Crimson Peak is that the movie is not a horror film per se, to quote Wasikowska’s character in the film “It is not a ghost story; it is a story with ghosts in it.” If Crimson Peak is not a traditional horror film, then what kind of film is it? Crimson Peak is a gothic romance. The best way to describe a gothic romance would be to imagine if Edgar Allen Poe wrote a romance story. Understanding that the movie is not a traditional horror film allows for an easier understanding of the kind of film that Del Toro was attempting to make.
The horror elements of the movie on their own would not have worked. The purpose that ghosts served to the story was confusing and complicated the plot. The horror elements also caused a drastic shift in tone of the film to something akin to a slasher, and that did not fit with the rest of the movie. When incorporated into the story involving the characters of Wasikowska, Chastain, and Hiddleston the spirits work as a device to keep the plot moving because something had to tip off Wasikowska that something was amiss with Hiddleston and Chastain.
Crimson Peak looked great, the production design of the deteriorating house served as an unsettling backdrop for the story. The effects of the ghosts looked great. If nothing else, Del Toro succeeded in creating a gorgeous looking film. The performances of the three leads, Wasikowska, Hiddleston, and Chastain, were excellent. Particularly the performances of the two leading ladies. Wasikowska and Chastain carry the film.
Crimson Peak is a gorgeous looking gothic romance featuring strong performances from the leading ladies and is certainly a nice change from found footage and torture porn horror movies. For exploring other facettes of the horror genre, I applaud Del Toro.