From the visionary director Guillermo del Toro, the man who brought us movies like Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy and Pacific Rim, the latest flick comes in the form of a Gothic Romance Horror called Crimson Peak. It has been one of the most anticipated movies of the year for those who loved the critically acclaimed dark fantasy known as Pan’s Labyrinth. Crimson Peak has also remained a much discussed title among the horror fans. What this movie seemed to try and achieve was to bring the Gothic mystery elements back to the big screen like never before. The trailer also supported the same idea, and so did the costumes and the surroundings featured in it.
The audience is introduced to a little girl who sees the apparition of her mother giving her one warning – beware of Crimson Peak. She grows up with the belief that ghosts are real because she has seen them, and she becomes a beautiful lady who is an aspiring author from Buffalo. This lady, Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) has a desire to show her skill in writing ghost stories even though she is told to write love stories instead. A twist of fate happens when she unexpectedly falls in love with Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) who arrives in the US from England, related to business matters. She marries him against the advice of her people after her father dies, and travels with him beyond the Atlantic Ocean to his lands.
Everything seems to be perfect with love and affection right at the core. But she soon discovers that the man is more than what meets the eye as he has many secrets. With his sister Lady Lucille Sharpe (Jessica Chastain) who seems to share these secrets, there is a very scary side to their world of two. A large crumbling mansion set in the mountainous region in Cumbria will make sure that her trip to the British Isles won’t be as good as she thought it would be. The house seems to warn her and so do the apparitions which make another appearance there, visible only to her. These creatures are new, but her nightmares have only begun, and she will soon know the truth about the siblings, the house and its bloody violent past.
The first thing that you notice related to Crimson Peak is the beauty that you see on screen. It is a wonderful reminder to the Gothic that the viewers have always read about during our childhood. The environment brings the best effects of horror on screen. It is the kind of world which suits horror like never before. As usual, Guillermo del Toro knows how to do the best with the creature design, as each apparition in this movie is unique, and all of them are scary. With the sound effects added and terrifying sequences well shot to magnify the horror, the whole thing becomes an even better experience. Still, the movie is does not fully fall into the horror genre. The costumes are also amazing, nicely contributing to the style of the movie. All of these are a lot worthy enough to be watched on the big screen.
There are a few scenes which need mention, one of them being a murder scene, surprisingly showing the aesthetics in death like never before. With water pouring out of the sink and getting mixed with blood, this simple scene shows what creativity can bring. Yes, there is violence, but with beauty. The elegance of death has been brought to the next level. The appearance of the apparition of the mother also brings something special. The red apparition is also imaginative, and the mansion remains a live thing all the time. The mixture of red clay from under the ground to snow also provides a creepy feeling to a house and the surroundings which are already scary with its architecture and location. All of them are worthy of bringing a big horror sequel to Crimson Peak.
There is a certain magic spell which is created by the movie on the audience with the visual detail; then there is the magic of performances which guides this movie. Tom Hiddleston steals the show with his dialogues and expressions as a character that seems to reflect love and compassion with eyes, but struggles hard to hide the secrets. Jessica Chastain is more like the personification of terror which is waiting to unleash itself, and she does a good job. Mia Wasikowska once again becomes the Alice here, not lost in Wonderland, but in the wasteland of her dreams, nightmares and newly found mansion. She manages her role remarkably well, and the audience can easily connect with her emotions. Charlie Hunnam is underutilized though, with more action set in England with the three characters.
The movie still takes a little bit more time than needed to get into the Gothic mode. Another fact is that more could have been achieved with what has already been done with the marvelous imagination that the director possesses. This is still brilliant, but is just a little short of becoming that perfect Gothic Horror Romance movie. The viewers who enjoy beauty on screen will find it difficult to take their eyes off throughout this movie, and there is a certain emotional impact which will also stay in minds after the movie ends. It is the kind of tale which makes you think, and it also brings the memories of that enchanting beauty into your mind – Guillermo del Toro once again proves that he knows how it should be done.