In the world of the horror movie genre, it's tricky to make horrific images look appealing, or even beautiful. But in contemporary cinema, there's always been one filmmaker who's managed to captivate us, galvanize us, and lure us into the dark with his stunning images. And that man is Mexican filmmaker, Guillermo del Toro! Since the first film of his that I had seen that made a big impact on me as young aspiring writer/filmmaker, with films dating back to "Mimic" and "Devil's Backbone", del Toro always manages to find the beauty in horror, in the grotesque and the macabre. And once again he has achieved it brilliantly with his latest picture, Crimson Peak.
Crimson Peak tells the story of aspiring writer Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), a withdrawn but beautiful and intelligent young woman who so desperately yearns for love and to write a story worth telling. She never gets along with town's women but is comfortable being around men, generally that of her father, Carter (Jim Beaver) and long time friend, Alan McMichael (Charlie Hunnam). As it is all she's known growing up since her mother's death at a very young age. Since then, she is prone to seeing ghosts. Mainly that of her mother's - A rather frightening appearance she makes to deliver a cryptic warning to her daughter, one that falls upon deaf ears and not taken seriously. During that time a mysterious dashing man, Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) and his sister, Lucille Sharpe (Jessica Chastain), arrive in town to approach Edith's father with a business proposal and sweeps Edith off her feet. Through a series of tragic misfortunes, Edith marries Thomas and moves in with him and his sister in their grand old, dreary and decaying mansion in the middle of nowhere in England. During her stay she slowly begins to literally unearth, through visions of goulish and disturbing ghosts, dangerous secrets about the mansion and its past, and therefore Edith finds herself in a nightmare she could not have imagined!
One of the things I am taken with in this film is the story telling, it is clearly a Ghost Story, but it is magnificently laced with mystery. You never know more than its protagonist; you uncover information when Edith herself does. Now some of you may have your theories while watching the picture, and you may even get one or two your theories correct. But one thing is for certain - When it happens, it never happens exactly the way you thought it was going to. Either way, it will leave you completely caught off guard from time to time, and these collective moments will latch onto your psyche after the end credits begin to roll. And not to leave out the fact that the presence of the color Red, and blood, are an important reoccurring theme that manages to find its way throughout the film - Red is the color of passion, and passion also plays a huge part in the story.
Every single element in this picture - down to the locations, costumes, performances, the story, screenplay and it's vocabulary are ALL ravaged in poise and sophistication. And make no mistake, they are the stars of the film itself! So what you will get with this motion picture is a classic Victorian Gothic Horror Film, with Ghosts and Romance - All guided by the visionary eye of Guillmero del Toro's visually stunning, dark and brooding artistic genius! Crimson Peak is a contemporary classical masterpiece that resonates like the ghosts that linger within the film itself, and it should rightfully earn its place in the horror genre with remarkable pride!
Crimson Peak Movie Review
by Phillip Wilcox "Our Movie Demon"