Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Film Review: Crimson Peak (2015)

Crimson Peak (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed For Review: HBO Now
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...thanks to its setting and character, the film feels original, refreshing, and scary."

After tragedy strikes her family, an aspiring author marries an enigmatic man who brings her to a palatial house—a house that has not forgotten the past...

Crimson Peak follows Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), an aspiring author. Unfortunately, as a female writer of ghost stories, Edith's career moves at a snail's pace. Her life changes when she meets Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), who, along with his sister, travels the world in search of funding for his clay-mining invention. In particular, Thomas is looking to finance his invention through Edith's father—which leads to rejection. However, Thomas still finds himself attracted to Edith. And so, their relationship blossoms. When tragedy strikes her family, Edith decides to leave her home and run away from her problems. She moves in with Thomas and his sister at their tumbledown house. All is well until things start to go bump in the night. Although atmospheric from beginning to end, this is where the film really begins to embrace its horror elements. It also starts to pack a few twists—most of which are predictable from the beginning. It leads to a great ending, though.

As a horror film, Crimson Peak should be applauded. At its core, it is a ghost story with many familiar elements. However, thanks to its setting and character, the film feels original, refreshing, and scary. This isn't your typical haunted house story because it doesn't take place in your typical house. Now, although it starts with some chilling scenes, most of the first half of the film plays out like a drama. This might be bad for people expecting a pure horror experience. In my case, I thought it was refreshing. The pace allowed the characters to breathe and it allowed the director to craft the chilling atmosphere. The ghostly visuals are also great. Again, don't expect your typical ghosts. The atmosphere is ominous, the tension is dreadful, and the visuals are superb. I only had a few issues with the actual plot. I was surprised to see it was so simple. It's very heavy-handed when it's dropping hints about its future plot points.

The acting was great. Mia Wasikowska and Tom Hiddleston are great as the leading actors. Jessica Chastain and Charlie Hunnam performed well, too. The music is also very atmospheric, helping create the tone of the film. The cinematography, the camerawork, the costumes, the set design... It is all beautiful. The film is gorgeous. Although the film probably didn't make its money back in theaters, you can see the $55-million budget was well spent. The film was written by Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins; Guillermo del Toro also directs. Although predictable, the writing was good. It took some very interesting risks. The direction was great, too.

Overall, Crimson Peak is a great film. It is a rare addition to the horror genre. Like The Witch, this film is beautiful, frightening, and refreshing. If you're tired of the typical haunted house story, give this one a shot.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, some sex.

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