Wednesday 21 October 2015

Review - Crimson Peak - Cinematic Brilliance

I should really wait for Friday to do this review, since it's a fandom kind of thing, but I can't - Crimson Peak was so good I have to tell everyone right now :). This review is going to as spoiler free as I can make it.

Crimson Peak - Cinematic Brilliance

Title: Crimson Peak
UK Rating: 15
Mia Wasikowska ... Edith Cushing
Jessica Chastain ... Lucille Sharpe
Tom Hiddleston ... Thomas Sharpe
Charlie Hunnam ... Dr. Alan McMichael
Jim Beaver ... Carter Cushing
Edith, an aspiring author and independent young woman, with the ability to see ghosts, meets Sir Thomas Sharpe, Baronet, an English gentleman somewhat down on his luck, when he attempts to raise funds for his latest invention with her father. They fall in love and Sharpe takes her back to his home in England, a dilapidated mansion where he lives with his sister, the Lady Lucille. Ghosts and worse await Edith in the old building.

Wittegen Press
$2.99 | £1.99
Amazon | Other
This is an utterly brilliant film. Words cannot begin to express how much I enjoyed it, and for once our little party of cinema goers was unanimous, my husband, my sister and my mother all loved it too (my father refused to come see it - not his type of film :)).

The first thing I have to say is that Guillermo del Toro really is a genius when it comes to creating atmosphere, setting and space. This is an amazing looking film as well as having a great plot. Allerdale Hall, home of the Sharpes is creepy, decaying and yet, somehow grand all at the same time. You can almost feel the chill in your bones as Edith surveys the old, dilapidated building which is now her home. Parts of the building are huge and airy, others as small and vaguely claustrophobic, all specifically to ignite a reaction in the audience.

The costumes are simply wonderful, especially Edith and Lucille. Everything is so beautifully gothic in feel and style and Edith, especially, has the most amazing clothes.

The ghosts are horrid and scary and very, very creepy. The special effects are superb and every ghost is unique and spine tingling in their own way. I think the scariest is right at the beginning when Edith is explaining the first ghost she ever saw; it made me reach for my husband's hand. I have to admit I did spend most of the film with our hand intertwined. This is not an all out horror movie, but it definitely has it's moments of icy fingers fear. Definitely a film in the traditional gothic horror sense, not the modern one of a scare a minute.

Wittegen Press
$1.99 | £1.49
Amazon | Other
Then we have the plot, and it's not exactly difficult to figure out what's going on, but it doesn't matter in the slightest. In fact, because the audience can see what's coming it makes it all the more exciting. The trope is a familiar one and yet del Toro subverts it. If this were a Hammer horror of the 60s then the two men would be the main focus and would do all the hard work, this, however, is a film about two women. Edith and Lucille are by far the driving characters of the story. They are the forces behind it and they are the beginning and the end when it comes to the plot.

Finally we have the cast, who are all excellent. In Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain and Tom Hiddleston, you have three people who can all act their way off the screen with just a look. The script is superb, but half the time the three of them could easily have said everything with just a few twitches of lips and widening of eyes. They are all brilliant. Charlie Hunnam and Jim Beaver are good too, but they're parts don't really take as much nuance as the main three.

Mia Wasikowska is superb as Edith. She is a smart, independent woman who finds herself flustered by the charisma of Sir Thomas Sharp. She never thought to fall in love, and yet she does. However, she is never the damsel in distress. Mia plays her as strong, intelligent and yet vulnerable and, at times, afraid. There was not one second I didn't believe what she was going through.

Then we have Jessica Chastain as Lucille. From the moment you first see her, you know something is not right. It's not overt, but it's in her eyes and her body language. I'm not going to give away the plot, but the way Jessica plays Lucille, the whole plot is written in her look and her stance from the her first frame to her last. She is brilliant.

Of course I couldn't leave the review without mentioning Tom Hiddleston as Sir Thomas. First of all, let's get the shallow part out of the way - he has a very lovely bottom, which is displayed very nicely for a good few seconds ;). He is also brilliant as always. In Tom we have an actor who always throws himself into the role and, no matter who they are and what they have done, somehow makes you sympathise with them on some level. Sir Thomas Sharpe is not a good man and yet I felt sorry for him, a lot. His final scene in the movie is absolutely amazing and I can't tell you why because of spoilers.

This film could so easily have slipped into melodrama - the plot is certainly ripe for it, but it doesn't. Parts of the story are horrible in the true sense of the word, it is very far from a nice plot, but it is presented in such a beautiful and engaging package. I remember seeing Pan's Labyrinth and being shocked by the stark violence in parts of it and Crimson Peak has the same stark approach to real death. There are no Hollywood fight scenes in this film where you can beat someone to a pulp and they just get up again. The blood looks real and so do the injuries. The violence is sparing, but when it comes, it hits you right in the face, how horror should be. There was one scene that actually made my husband squirm - his choice of word, not mine :).

I've already pre-ordered the blu-ray. This is the kind of film that is a keeper.

The Share a Scare Halloween Blog Hop will run on the 31st October as you would expect, but now is the time to sign up.

Have something a little bit scary to share? All bloggers, authors and artists welcome. Just click the link to see all the details:

Authors might also be interested in this blog hop. The Trick-or-Treat blog hop is run by the lovely Patricia Lynne and the idea is to give away free books to trick-or-treaters visiting your blog.


  1. This looks really good, I think I'll try and get my mum to see it with me; it's just our type of thing :)

    1. It is very much worth seeing, good luck with convincing your mum :)

  2. This was already a must watch movie, and after your review, Tasha, I've added another star. Great fan of Guillermo de Toro, especially of Pan's Labyrinth. And what can is say about the brilliant Tom Hiddleston - he's inspired my latest police detective sergeant, although not Gothic or Loki.

    1. The great thing about Tom is he can play anything, so he can inspire anything too :). I just realised that I don't actually own Pan's Labyrinth - it's years since I've seen it, but it has stuck with me all this time - will have to rectify the oversight soon.


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