What’s that? Oh, it’s October! That means we are supposed to be getting a lot of horror movies, right? Where the fuck are they?
Oh, there are some horror comedies, and a lot of horrors from the summer are coming out on DVD. But not a whole lot in October, because the studio people hate us. The last few Octobers have been mostly shit as well.
So thank goodness, early October, we have the chance of something wonderful. We have Crimson Peak, directed by my man, Guillermo del Toro. That man loves scary stuff. Sure he is some times hit or miss with his work, but damn it, he at least has the passion enough for me to trust his work and not judge it from crappy trailers.
I haven’t reviewed a single horror film all month (Goodnight Mommy I did in September!), so hopefully Crimson Peak gets me on the right foot and scares the Hellboy out of me.
Oh no! It looks like those bricks are covered with the remains of Hellboy 3!
Traveling back about a hundred years, Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) believes in ghosts. Her mom died when she was a child, and one very frightful night, her ghost visited her and warned her about Crimson Peak. Of course it was just childish nonsense. Now, she is an adult and living with her father (Jim Beaver), in a nice Buffalo mansion. She considers herself to be an author, but not stupid romance, instead nice dramas and ghost stories even. In reality, it is hard to define her work by a single genre.
Her dad wants her to be set up with a local boy, an eye doctor, Dr. Alan McMichael (Charlie Hunnam). But Edith is a bit more interested in a stranger to their town, Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston). He came for a loan. His families business is in ruins, collecting red clay for bricks below their mansion. He has made a device to help dig it out, but he just needs capital to get the working parts in order.
Needless to say, he didn’t expect to find love in Buffalo. Thomas and his sister, Lucille (Jessica Chastain), are a bit weird, but their family has been through rough times, so it makes sense. Eventually, after some circumstances, Edith finds herself whisked away to Great Britain to live in their home. A deteriorating building with a lot of quirks due to its location.
And you know. Some ghosts maybe. Some really creepy shit. And a whole lot of secrets.
Special shout out to Burn Gorman, who played a small role as a Private Investigator. I normally just say “also featuring” but I enjoyed his 3 scenes a lot more than just a “featuring” line.
Shit Lucille, you need to clean that mirror or something.
Crimson Peak is like an old timey horror movie, in almost every way. It isn’t your modern horror film that cares about the number of jump scares it can fill in and how many people they can kill by the end. In fact, the plot itself as it unravels won’t feel new. There are elements taken from other stories that sure, may have done it better originally.
But Crimson Peak excels in the areas that the older styled movies had no chance in. First of all, HOLY FUCK, this is a pretty movie. The use of contrasting colors is so heavily used that it almost feels like the entire set was made by a darker Wes Anderson. The oozing red clay splattered around the mansion (that yes, looks like blood), does a great job of constantly enforcing the mood and history of the house. The snow, the green and blue hued windows. It is all so damn beautiful.
I wasn’t aware the movie was being release on IMAX, which unsettled me, as it would make it harder for me to cover my eyes if the screen was that much bigger than normal. Thankfully, the attention to detail that del Toro is known for when it comes to set design shined so well on the giant screen.
You know what else the older movies didn’t have? Jessica Fucking Chastain. I can admit that Chastain is a good actress, but I never really thought she was great. She was good in a lot of recent movies, including The Martian, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, A Most Violent Year, Interstellar, and sure, Zero Dark Thirty. Honestly though, they never seemed to push her into the excellence category. It just took a Drama/Horror/Fantasy for me really respect her. She went so hardcore into her character, by the end I couldn’t believe that someone who generally plays such quiet characters could be pulling it off.
The actors are of course good to fine in their own ways, all playing their roles wonderfully. But Chastain stole the damn show.
Crimson Peak will be frightening at only some points, strangely graphic at other parts (involving insects!), but for the most part, del Toro just wanted to tell a romance/drama story. Sort of. This is only slightly a horror, so those who are expecting a lot more in the scream department will be disappointed. In this film, there just happens to be ghosts and dead bodies along the way.
3 out of 4.