Revisit Rewatch Review: Crimson Peak
Over the weekend we have had Halloween, which means that it was spooky movie season. I talked a lot about them in the 80’s movies and Creature Features articles. But the one that I got to watch was Crimson Peak. How did this gothic horror film by Guillermo Del Toro stand up for a modern horror film?
Crimson Peak is the story of Edith Cushing, an aspiring author, who has her world turned on it’s head through a series of tragic events and the introduction of a mysterious stranger, Thomas Sharpe. Falling in love with him, she returns to the family manor and clay mines which had brought them to her town and her father in the first place. Things aren’t going well there, the manor is falling apart and Thomas’ sister Lucille is not welcoming of her. Then, she starts to see ghosts who are wandering the manor and tormenting her. Something is very much not as it seems, but can she find out in time?
Guillermo Del Toro is a master of a beautiful aesthetic, and this film is no different. Everything is shot amazingly for a nice creepy factor but still has almost a haunting beauty to it. The manor is amazingly done, and the aesthetic even before and just the costuming makes everything stand out in this film. The horrific elements even have what is an interesting aesthetic to them and are almost beautiful in their own way.
But, for me, I don’t know that was enough to save the film. I liked the acting in the film, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, and Mia Wasikowska do a good job in this film. I think that Jessica Chastain in a lot of ways steals the show, though, I won’t say why as that will spoil things. In terms of a horror film, the acting generally much much better than you’d see. But in terms of overall acting, it is just good, nothing that stands out so amazingly, but also nothing that is wrong with it. I think that they work for the aesthetic that has been created, but, and I’ll get to it next, I think that the story doesn’t do them a ton of favors.
In terms of the story, the issue is that this is a movie that doesn’t do anything unexpected. I think that for me was what really disappointed. It follows a lot of horror tropes, but it doesn’t really have any of the predictable twists, but that’s because it just doesn’t really have any twists in it. I think that the story just ends up feeling flat which causes the rest of the film to suffer. It feels like it’s a bit of a waste when it comes to the aesthetic because nothing stands out as that amazing a horror element. Instead it’s just an average story that bounces between feeling like half a period piece, half a horror film, and generally fairly unfocused. Del Toro has blended two elements well before with Pan’s Labyrinth, but this one ends up not having the same heart and depth that one does. And in some ways, that makes it more disappointing. I like a lot of what Del Toro does, I’m a big fan of Pacific Rim and Pan’s Labyrinth is great, but this movie just lacks the heart that those have, and anything that feels that interesting, beyond the setting. It feels like it should do so much more than it does, instead ending up a beautiful hollow shell.
Let me finish up by saying that when this movie came out originally, I was very excited for it. I’m glad that I didn’t see it in theaters, but I’m also not sorry that I’ve watched it. Like I said, Del Toro nails the aesthetic for this film, there is the right amount of creep and gore, but it’s lacking the heart. And I think for a film that takes itself seriously, it needs that heart, otherwise it feels, as I said before, like a beautiful but hollow shell. If it was more of a B film feel, it’d need other things as well, if it was going for more of a suspenseful story, it’d need other things. Overall, an enjoyable watch, but in the end, just missing that final little bit to put it over the edge.