Release: October 16, 2015
Story: In 1887, young American Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) falls for the mysterious Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), a English businessman who is in the United States looking for investors for his clay-mining invention. One of the men Thomas talks to is Edith’s father, Carter Cushing (played by Jim Beaver). Carter doesn’t trust Sharpe and even has a private investigator look into Sharpe’s troubled past. But Carter’s hesitations don’t stop Edith from marrying Sharpe and moving to his old, dilapidated, family mansion in England. Carter’s worries may not have been unfounded as Thomas and his sister, Lady Lucille (Jessica Chastain), seem to have something terrible in-store for Edith once she gets to England. The ghost of her mother having warned Edith about something called “The Crimson Peak” before she moves to the mansion where she starts seeing even more ghosts, Edith is suspicious of her new husband and sister-in-law, and she begins investigating the many floors of the mansion (even the forbidden basement) for answers. Meanwhile, Edith’s childhood friend in America, Dr. Alan McMichael (Charlie Hunnam), is worried about Edith and attempts to find out more about Thomas. With secrets, questions, and death behind every corner, will Edith find out the dark history behind the house before it’s too late?
Thoughts: The story and themes aren’t bad but they sometimes share too many similarities with director Guillermo del Toro’s 2001 Spanish language film The Devil’s Backbone. Both films are Gothic Romances. This explains some of the common elements, but others felt like needless rehashing of things del Toro has already touched on.
That being said, I enjoyed the film a lot. Our protagonist is wonderful. It’s so nice to see a smart, strong, and competent female lead in a film. Hiddleston and Chastain are great as our antagonists, even if Chastain’s character is a little too EVIL(!!!) for my tastes (if she had a mustache, I’m sure she’d be twirling it in some scenes). And whatever you say about the story, this is by far del Toro’s best looking film. That’s saying something when it comes to a director who’s pictures always look phenomenal. Even the closing credits of the film are gorgeous. It’s just so visually stimulating.
Overall, the film is a bit mixed but I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great Gothic Romance tale.