In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds…and remembers.
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"Crimson Peak" is less a movie and more of a funhouse - but what an exquisitely designed funhouse it is. You'll likely predict the script's variation on 'Bluebeard' long before poor Mia Wasicowska has sussed it all out, but it's nearly inconsequential when every frame of the film invites you to bask in its gothic splendor. The third act is a highlight as Del Toro offers a potent mix of psycho-drama and bloodletting.
Lacks the deeper historical resonance of 'Backbone' & 'Labyrinth', with GDT engaging meta-fiction as an extended genre tribute that feels a little too self-conscious. References to everything from the Brontë sisters to Bava to The Shining are evident if not academic, but the metaphorical aspects of the film, such as the image of the house itself as a mirror to the characters own emotions etc, are intelligent & vivid.
Crimson Peak is undeniably beautiful. Hiddleston and Chastain are beautiful in it. The sets and costumes are beautiful. Del Toro, his art and cinematography department are at the top of their game. Unfortunately, it's a messy film, its character development unsound, it's slow and lacking in energy. The emotions do not seem to fit the environment; they're bland, unjustified, and plain off-putting. Alas...
A jaw-dropping feat of craft, CRIMSON PEAK is the crowning glory of del Toro's career in the American studio system. Speaking of which, wasn't Sirk sometimes faulted for style over substance? In equal parts Daphne du Maurier, Mario Bava and Pre-Raphaelites art, this is also an acting showcase by a great ensemble who serve the vision of one man in full control of his wits. Now...what of Charlie Hunnam's bob haircut?
This is not a ★★ movie, but I had too much expectations for it and the whole thing just collapsed. From the predictable plot to the lack of Del Toro's fantastic creatures, only the art direction was impeccable enough to keep me through the end. Bloody hell.
A pretty fun and delicious gothic whatever. I don't begrudge it for not conforming to one genre's conventions, it did seem to struggle to define itself. Themes and motifs are introduced and abandoned, but the production design and costumes are sumptuous and Del Toro's vision delights. Great performances by all three leads, though it's possible they're acting in different films. I would have preferred a bit more camp.
Del Toro's tribute not just to 19th century Gothic, but to the 1940s Hollywood psychodramas that it spawned. The visual design is marvelous and the ideas inspired, but their arrangement is maddeningly disorganized. Of course, it's possible for a film to feel disorganized and still be great, but only if its atmosphere and emotions break through into the irresistibly irrational. Crimson Peak lacks the passion.
Great expectations can often result in great disappointment! That is the case here. The sets, costumes and photography are breathtaking and at the maximum level of what you could hope for from a gothic cinematic tale...and yet, while it excels in a grandiose aesthetic proposition it also fails in equal measure on narrative construction and suspense. Also, the CGI effects of the ghosts felt cheap and unconvincing.