Aspiring author Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) is enchanted by the mysterious Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston). Leaving everything she knows behind including her childhood friend Dr. Alan McMichael (Charlie Hunnam) Edith moves to the old mansion where Thomas lives with his sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain). The house holds many secrets and ghosts, and slowly Edith begins to realise there’s something very wrong about the place.
Crimson Peak is beautiful. It’s the epitome of gothic romance, a genre which suits director Guillermo del Toro perfectly. The set design and the costumes add so much to the atmosphere of the film and as the film goes along the house begins to feel like it’s alive.
The story of Crimson Peak is pretty simple really but it’s the performances and chemistry between the characters that sucks you in. Also it isn’t really a horror film even though it has ghosts and some gruesome moments – like Edith said herself at one point, it’s not a ghost story but a story that has ghosts in it. The ghosts themselves are still very creepy and unsettling and they help put the audience and Edith on edge as you both try and figure out what they are trying to show her.
Besides from the gorgeous set design, the memorable thing about Crimson Peak is the performances. Wasikowska is the damsel in distress but she’s still smart and resourceful and her ability to see ghosts, while slightly terrifying, is what helps her in the end. Hiddleston is great as the charming but sensitive mystery man, but it is Chastain as Lucille who is distant but cunning that really steals the show. She gives an unsettling performance and she commands the attention of both the viewer and Thomas and Edith whenever she’s in the room.
Some may find Crimson Peak boring as it is not really the horror film it has been marketed as, it has very few jump-scares, in fact it is more eerie and atmospheric than frightening. If you can look past the marketing campaign you will find a film that is gorgeous yet deadly, full of amazing performances and an unsettling amount of tension.
Crimson Peak is beautifully dark and creepy and while it may not have many surprises, it’s still captivating. 4/5.