Crimson Peak

Crimson Peak is a ghost story presented by the wildly talented Guillermo del Toro who directed and co-wrote the film. Unfortunately the film doesn’t live up to del Toro’s usual standard of excellence…

Set in the Victorian era, the film centers around Edith Cushing who becomes enamored with a mysterious businessman named Thomas Sharpe. Sharpe romances Edith and after the death of her father, persuades her to marry him and move to his castle in Europe to live with Sharpe and his sister. It turns out that not is all as it appears and the intentions of Sharpe become more clear as Edith starts to find herself in a perilous situation.

The story as it unfolds reveals itself to be formulaic and predictable, something I found disappointing considering del Toro’s talent for originality. About 15 minutes in you could see where things were going. The characters themselves are equally as cookie-cutter and not hard to figure out. Even with the supposed “twist” to the characters there wasn’t much you couldn’t see coming.

The pace of the film doesn’t help either as it leans on suspenseful moments that don’t really exist since the execution of those moments falls dramatically flat. It turns out the ghosts in here are purely incidental, are never really explained in depth and we have no understanding as to why the lead character sees them, the ghosts are just kind of “there”.

Overall, the best part of the film is the visual design. The sets, props, and costumes are all very well put together and beautifully crafted. The film has a gothic feel and feels true to that time but with a unique stamp of its own.

The actors are pretty good with Jessica Chastain standing out through a passionate delivery. Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam and Jim Beaver are included in the cast but all kind of come off average for the most part.

reviewed by Sean McKnight