Guillermo Del Toro has always been a great visual director. He’s directed some great movies in the past, like Pan’s Labyrinth, and some mediocre movies in the past, like Pacific Rim, which was fine but short of the storytelling front. Crimson Peak stands in the middle unfortunately and is beautifully shot but lacks substance and likeable characters which makes it an unfortunately dull experience.
Crimson Peak tells the story of an inspiring writer named Edith Crushing (Mia Wasikowska) who meets a charming dreamer (Tom Hiddelston) Sir Thomas Sharpe, who has an interesting proposition for her father who is a wealthy businessman. However, her father is unimpressed with his proposition and rejects it completely. Yet, the two fall in love, despite her father’s protests and the two marry and move to a house at Crimson Peak with his sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain, and slowly learns that her husband is not the person she believed him to be.
Crimson Peak has impressing visuals and fantastic cinematography. The film looks incredible and it’s shot beautifully and the costumes look great and perfect suited for the time period.
All the actors do a pretty good job. Charlie Hunham, who was fantastic in Sons of Anarchy, is great here and is probably the most likeable character in the entire film.
Tom Hiddelston is good as Sir Thomas Sharpe but the chemistry didn’t quite click with Mia Wasikowska, who is a capable actress, but doesn’t get a chance to shine in the film. She has no character arc and winds up at an even worst place than she was in the beginning. We know nothing about her character therefore it’s hard to connect with her.
Jessica Chastain was miscast. I’m usually a big fan of her and she wasn’t bad in the film but she just didn’t fit in that role. She plays a type of Cersei Lannister role, she’s a power hungry and a complete bitch but she didn’t belong in this film. Lena Headey would have probably been a better fit.
But the major problem with Crimson Peak is that the film doesn’t know what it wants to be. It’s a period peace, a gothic horror film and a romance, and those genres don’t mesh together well at all. In fact, it feels as if this film is three episodes of The Twilight Zone mashed together but with the same characters and it simply didn’t work.
The ghosts don’t even matter at all. They’re there for some long drawn out scenes of Mia Wasikowska walking in a long corridor reacting to things (which happens three or four times during the second act) but that’s about it. They don’t matter and if they had been left out of the film the movie would have been no different. The film would still have it’s three act structure and the ending would have been the same no matter what.
The love story is fine, nothing remarkable or new that hasn’t already been done before. The romance is a bit stilted and wooden and you don’t buy that they are in love with each other.
The pacing is also all over the place and the film drags and drags. I actually checked my watch half way through this movie thinking that this was the third act. It wasn’t. It was about the fifty minutes mark. That’s bad news.
The ghosts we’re cool looking, but they weren’t scary and that was disappointing. Pan’s Labyrinth isn’t a horror film, but it’s a hundred times more effective and terrifying than this entire bland and bloated film. Guillermo Del Toro is a great visual director, but he’s ben putting style over substance lately in his more recent films like Pacific Rim which was a visual treat but thin on characters and story and he does that again with Crimson Peak.
Overall, Crimson Peak is beautifully film and magnificently directed, but the film lacks substance and likeable characters which makes it hard to enjoy and doesn’t warrant a re-watch.