Del Toro created an awesome film visually, but it didn’t translate to the pen with a overly boring story-line.
“CRIMSON PEAK” stars Mia Wasikowska as Edith, an aspiring author whom, still reeling from a family tragedy, meets a mysterious visitor named Thomas played by Tom Hiddleston. They soon fall in love and move out to his family residence along with his sister Lucille played by Jessica Chastain. Not long after being in the home Edith begins to learn the house she lives in is alive with a dark spiritual presence that seems to have its attention on her.
This film came out prior to Halloween with a marketing angle themed towards being a time-period horror film. That was something I was expecting as I sat down and started this film and I was highly disappointed as this story progressed and delivered nothing close to such. First, what I really did enjoy about Guillermo del Toro’s newest project was without a doubt the beautiful look it had. From the backdrops to the set-design, the costume design to the lighting, was nothing short of amazing in del Toro’s direction.
The detail taken into the backdrops was exceptional, and as the characters moved about the sets there is plenty for the eye to focus on. But as the story-line progressed it seemed to really go no where for a bulk of the run-time. The cast performances were great don’t get me wrong, Wasikowska, Chastain and Hiddleston were all solid in their roles and did their best to carry the film on their shoulders. But the script was extremely slow paced, and rather than the horror genre it promoted itself as, it was a love story, with simply a generic horror-ish over coat. A combination that was interesting in theory but honestly did not translate to that same level of intrigue as it played out on-screen.
I kept waiting for it to go somewhere and over again the character of Edith wakes up in her sleep to grab her candle and venture through the ominous house. Luckily, again del Toro’s attention to detail and cinematic eye behind the lens was able to excellently capture the vaulting interiors of the home which created, for me, the most ominous part of the film.
These scenes of Edith wandering the home was when the film tried to adapt some horror-ish elements. The result was some surprisingly cartoon-ish CGI ghosts that make their random appearances to try a rouse some sort of fright. They felt out of place and never were able to deliver their intention. There were also a couple cliche jump-scares, some more effective than others, if you enjoy them. But nothing that will pull you up in your seat.
The third-act does pick up a bit and manages to finally create some dramatic intensity, but for me, by then much of my attention had been lost. Guillermo del Toro created a polished looking film with “Crimson Peak” but the faltering story-line hinders any real enjoyment from being built. Maybe watching this one again without the expectations of a horror film would make the experience better but even that would not pick up the pace of a second-act that was slow enough to drain my interest with each passing minute.
In the end “Crimson Peak” looks much better than it entertains, and while you can see the budget of this project was put to good use, again it all goes back to having a solid story to go with it. Unfortunitally this one was very forgettable. Fans of fantasy romance may find some entertainments in this one but as a person who was expecting something that would rouse some suspense, I felt disappointment as the end-credits finally began to roll.
– Starring –
Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam, Burn Gorman, Leslie Hope, Jonathan Hyde, Doug Jones
– Directed By –
Guillermo del Toro
Time: 119 min
MPAA Rating: R (For bloody violence, some sexual content and brief strong language)