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.
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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.
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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.
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.
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:
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.