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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Edith Cushing's mother died when she was young but watches over her. Brought up in the Victorian Era she strives to be more than just a woman of marriageable age. She becomes enamored with Thomas Sharpe, a mysterious stranger. After a series of meetings and incidents she marries Thomas and comes to live with him and his sister, Lady Lucille Sharpe, far away from everything she has known. The naive girl soon comes to realize not everything is as it appears as ghosts of the past quite literally come out of the woodwork. This movie is more about mystery and suspense than gore.
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Having been a fan of Guillermo Del Toro for some time now, I had expected 'Crimson Peak' to be his next great masterpiece. Although the film didn't meet my expectations, I can't say that it disappointed them either.nnNear the end of the 18th century, aspiring author Edith Cushing (Wasikowska) meets a struggling inventor by the name of Thomas Sharpe (Hiddleston). The two quickly fall in love and move into Sharpe's dilapidating mansion - which is also inhabited by Thomas' sister, Lucille (Chastain). Once there, Edith slowly realizes that not everything is what it seems and decides to dig deeper, in spite of the growing dangers.nnFirst, 'Crimson Peak' is not a horror film; it is a 'gothic romance' (with some horror elements thrown into the mix). The genre hasn't been visited upon for decades, yet Del Toro does a fine job of offering his own take on it. The film also contains plenty of blood and gore - so if you don't have a stomach for that kind of stuff, your chances of finishing this film are nil (for there are far more disturbing aspects).nnThe story constantly switches in tone. I get that its a 'gothic romance' (two genres that can't be any further apart from each other), but it can get confusing for some people very quickly. One scene might seem like it was from a romantic period film while the next might seem like something out of a thriller! I think Del Toro and Robbins did a fine job of balancing the pacing, but they could have certainly tweaked a few things and cut the runtime down by an extra ten or fifteen minutes.nnThat being said, the plot is pretty straightforward - up until the last third of the film. Again, there are some disturbing details that both Edith and the audience discover. It took me some time to connect certain things, but I eventually figured out the bigger picture. Nevertheless, the very nature of this film will undoubtedly shock you - and will do it in a way that no other film released this year has.nnBoth Wasikowska and Hiddleston give good performances, but Chastain is the standout. Her role as a cold-hearted, manipulative aristocrat is done with sheer excellence; you can't help but suspect of her something. She allures your attention with her mysterious persona, yet you can't help but hate her for who she truly is.nnJust like in any other Del Toro film, the visuals in this film are amazing. This time, instead of the visual effects (like in 'Pacific Rim'), the main focus is on the production design and costume design. Every set, prop, and article of clothing not only have their own unique design but are also very telling of a scene's or character's given mood (now that's some good attention to detail). I would honestly be shocked if this film wasn't nominated for Best Prod. Design nor Best Costume (although I also wouldn't be surprised as the Academy usually forgets about films like these).nnDespite its narrative problems, 'Crimson Peak' is a grand visual experience that needs to be seen on the big screen (notwithstanding the blood and gore). Del Toro's directing has not faltered one bit, and he truly has come up with an original concept that we haven't seen in a very long time. And although I didn't completely fall in love with this film, I will say I'm glad I watched it in theatres.nnMy actual rating for this film is 7.5/10
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