I could have sworn that this was a vampire movie but given the genius visionary that Mr Guillermo Del Toro is, I was in for a pleasant surprise.
Set in the Victorian Era, Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) is a young, aspiring American author that has never played by society’s rules. Despite being good friends with Dr. Alan McMichael (Charlie Hunnam), she had never once foreseen herself as those of the girls her age – until she meets Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston). Charmed by him, Edith falls in love with Thomas and after a tragedy at home, she marries Sir Thomas and is whisked away to the Gothic, dilapidated and remote home that he shares with his sister, Lucille Sharpe (Jessica Chastain). Having been gifted to see the spirits of the dead since she was a child, Edith begins to uncover the dark secrets that Crimson Peak holds and learns that sometimes, the things that scare you the most are not necessarily dead.
Like I said before, I honestly thought this was a vampire movie. Given his success with The Strain, I was almost quite certain Mr Del Toro was about to take on a Gothic vampire story. Can you blame me? Tom and Jessica’s Gothic dressing and incredibly snowy white skin were typical signs of a vampire… But, boy was I mistaken. Crimson Peak wasn’t so much of a true blue horror film (with the monsters and the things that go bump at night), but a psychological horror film that messes with the mind. Although, I’d have to admit that from the start, Thomas and Lucille seemed to be behaving like vampires that were looking for their next protege. Mr Del Toro is skillful when it comes to delivering the punch of the story. It was almost like a ride on the Tower of Terror. You get the different little surprises until the final drop, or in this case, the climax of the story.
The visual effects were hauntingly stunning. I liked how the different colors were used to represent the different sort of spirits Edith sees. Although I can’t say for sure, I would most certainly believe that:
Black represents a melancholic spirit.
Red represents a murdered spirit.
White/off-white represents a good/pure of heart spirit.
I suppose my conclusion could also come from what I saw visually but I’d like to think that my guess is close.
Jessica Chastain deserves a standing ovation for her performance as Lucille Sharpe. Her ability to go from controlled insanity to insanity on overdrive is absolutely flawless. I’ve always loved Jessica Chastain (because she’s my favorite actress), ever since I saw her in The Help. This performance in Crimson Peak just made me love her even more. She gave Lucille Sharpe vulnerability which few would agree to have seen. The pain that Lucille must have felt after (spoiler alert!) killing Thomas was evident though her actions were the opposite. But the bottom line is her character wasn’t mentally stable. And to have been sheltered by someone who genuinely loved her was the only thing she had. So when she felt like the one thing keeping her steady is about to leave her, it’s only natural to see her snap. Her character (another spoiler alert!) dies; but to be fair, it wasn’t really much of a choice for Mia’s character; I’d like to think that her character wanted that for herself as well, since the only thing she had no longer exists. Honestly speaking, I really think Jessica Chastain stole the show. The rest of the cast were great in the movie too but she was brilliant. (Don’t hate me Tom Hiddleston! I still love you!)
With this sort of movie, many would think that it’s the other guy who would save the damsel in distress. But ho-ho naysayers – the damsel saves herself and the other guy! Yes – despite having her legs injured and being poisoned, Edith manages to save herself and her supposed knight in shining armor, Alan. I mean this lady practically saved herself from the cray-cray Lucille without anybody’s help! She stabbed the lady in the chest area with a fountain pen even when she was weaker. And when she was running on adrenaline, she (huge spoiler alert!) whacks her on the head with a spade. But I would give credit to Alan’s presence. If he hadn’t turned up, Edith would have been toast. In my opinion, him turning up gave Thomas validation to do what was right; which was turning on his sister.
All in all, Crimson Peak is a must-watch. As another one of Guillermo Del Toro’s brilliant films, it’s practically a no-brainer! Just go and catch it!