By Cynthia Ayala
After marrying the charming and seductive Sir Thomas Sharpe, young Edith finds herself swept away to his remote gothic mansion in the English hills. Also living there is Lady Lucille, Thomas’ alluring sister and protector of her family’s dark secrets. Able to communicate with the dead, Edith tries to decipher the mystery behind the ghostly visions that haunt her new home. As she comes closer to the truth, Edith may learn that true monsters are made of flesh and blood.
Guillermo del Toro impresses once again with this fantasy film filled with numerous gothic tropes to build the story of romance and mystery set in a Victorian background amidst snow and bloodied clay that bleeds into the ground.
It’s an interesting premise that has such a visual charm to it that does take away from the story misdirecting the audience and the plot line. However, some elements of the film are predictable leaving the audience waiting for the discovery moment of the film, the climax. Which comes very near the end of the film leaving just the right amount of room for a proper resolution and a haunting ending.
Starring Mia Wasikowska, Tom HIddleston and Jessica Chastain, the trio play the main characters in the film. With a haunting premise about Edith (Mia Wasikowska) who is able to see haunting figures, ghosts. They live in Crimson Peak and that begins the mystery of the film. Why are they there? What are the siblings planning? What do the ghosts want? The story focuses on trying to explain those plot points in a way to tie the whole movie together from the opening scene to the end. So there are no holes in the story and the visual elements coupled with the acting raise the film from some cheap horror/fantasy/romance film and make each of those respective elements shine. It keeps the grotesque to a minimum while presenting them in that fantastical and artistic fashion that makes then delicious to watch. It’s like candy for the eyes. It is the star of the film, more so than the actual actors and the acting, both of which are amazing.
Mia Wasikowska is such a brilliant actress and her chemistry and dynamic with Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain was amazing. She was such a familiar and strong character, intuitive and strong. Both her and Jessica Chastain were amazing in their very different ways and held the film aloft, making sure that the film and the story wasn’t drowned out by the visual imagery.
But this movie shows itself as a horror film and it’s not that. It a movie that certainly leaves a very haunting after thought, making it unforgettable, but the plot is more of a mystery film covered in the cobwebs of classic gothic tropes. It’s imaginative but falls short of other del Toro films as far as the story and visual elements combined.
Nevertheless, the mind will imprint itself on the mind and leave the audience with a spooky feeling. (★★★1/2 (out of 4 ☆’s) | B+)
– Film Credits –
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Written by Guillermo del Toro & Matthew Robbins
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam & Jim Beaver
Genre | Length | Rating: Fantasy/Mystery | 1 hr. 59 min. | R
Distributor: Universal Pictures