Mia Wasikowska is an aspiring author who after a family tragedy is swept away by a mysterious Tom Hiddleston. They got to live in his manor accompanied by Hiddleston’s sister Jessica Chastain, but there is more to this house than meets the eye.
For Guillermo Del Toro this is a return really to his Spanish language filmmaking style, it has more in common with Pan’s Labyrinth than it does Pacific Rim for example. But at the same time this is definitely a more accessible work than Pan’s Labyrinth not just because of language, but also because it’s just a lot lighter. It doesn’t tackle the kind of dark issues brought up in Pan’s Labyrinth and just isn’t as scary or challenging. That isn’t to say Crimson Peak doesn’t have its chilling moments because it does, it just isn’t ever very scary. But to be fair that’s because this isn’t a horror movie. It’s a gothic romance that has a few ghosts in it.
The film is gorgeous, that house is a marvel of production design. With its clay fields surrounding it, and it’s whirring machinery and open top skylight that lets it snow in one particular spot in the hall. And I actually found the cgi ghosts were very well done, for a director like Del Toro to leave his roots in mostly practical effects onto cgi is kind of worrying initially, but it really works here. I did enjoy Crimson Peak, but you have to just go with it because there are times in which the dialogue seems a little ropey or the performances a little hammy. But certainly if you just let it happen without thinking too hard about certain elements of the script I think you’ll have a grand old time.
Overall, I did really like Crimson Peak. But I do think it could have been enhanced with a slightly less hammy approach to the performances and script. Also it would do well to remember that this film is not what it is advertised as being. It is not a new take on the Haunting (though that has clearly influenced elements) it is more of an out and out gothic romance.