by Caitlin Marceau
Crimson Peak (2015)
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
When tragedy strikes, newly married Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) and Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) return to his family manor in England—Allerdale Hall—which is commonly known as Crimson Peak, due to the blood red clay that seeps through the earth. While in her new home, tensions build between Edith and her sister-in-law Lucille (Jessica Chastain) when she begins to have ghostly visions of Thomas’ previous wives and she starts to fall ill. It’s not long until Edith realizes there’s more than family history haunting the mansion, and she must fight for her life in order to avoid the same fate that’s befallen so many before her.
This movie bleeds Guillermo del Toro’s signature aesthetic: deep reds, over-the-top drama, gorgeous sets and costume design, elegant but revealing dialogue, and a villain who shows audiences that humans are the real monster of the piece. Crimson Peak is especially interesting thanks to the influences that del Toro is drawing from, and blending together. He calls upon classic Hammer horror movie tropes, ghost stories that ooze Edgar Allan Poe levels of Victorian Gothic aesthetic, and some good old fashioned campy (but not too campy) fun.
Wasikowska is somewhat unremarkable as Edith, but it works brilliantly in comparison to the tension and mystery that Chastain brings to her role as at the sinister sister-in-law out to get the new bride. Hiddleston, fun as ever, does a great job of playing the loving (but not too loving) partner of Edith, and his screen chemistry with Chastain is mesmerizing.
If you’re a fan of Victorian era stories, a fan of ghosts, or just a fan of del Toro, then Crimson Peak is a beautiful, eerie, must-watch movie for the Halloween season.