Release Date: October 16, 2015
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Writer: Guillermo del Toro, Matthew Robbins
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam, Jim Beaver, Burn Gorman, Leslie Hope, Doug Jones, Jonathan Hyde, Bruce Gray, Emily Coutts, Alec Stockwell, Brigitte Robinson, Gillian Ferrier, Tamara Hope, Kimberly-Sue Murray, Sofia Wells, Joanna Douglas, Bill Lake, Jim Watson
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 119 minutes
Production Company: Legendary Pictures, Universal Pictures
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror
Budget: $55,000,000 (estimated)
When having a visionary director like Guillermo del Toro (Blade II, Hellboy, Pacific Rim) direct a movie, beautiful imagery is a given. While most destruction scenes in some blockbusters (Transformers 2, 3, and 4) are loud, messy splashes of color, del Toro takes the time to have the plot match the destruction. He’s an interesting storyteller, but this fact may soon be forgotten. The term ‘overrated’ comes to mind when I hear his name. All over, the Internet echoes of all his talents, saying he’s one of the best. He’s good, and that is all I can say. Most of his films deal with similar themes, thus not delivering the promises the films make. While I enjoyed Pacific Rim and a few other movies by this director, I was still slightly underwhelmed. Although, those films were spectacular pieces of eye candy, they were not good enough to satisfy me. Once again, I was let down in my hope to watch a visual horror story, as what I got was an incestuous-based love story.
The first positive thing I can say about the movie is about the picture itself. The cinematography was remarkably crafted. Every frame of the film was as beautiful as it could possibly be. The level of detail with respect to snow failing from the sky, the red crimson color of clay and the cracks in the walls resulted in a breathtaking experience. In addition, a glorious cast filled that space as well. The casting director chose the best of talents with Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, and Mia Wasikowska. These actors’ involvement was a nice bonus to the already rich story that was present. The movie hinted to a weird relationship between two of the characters, which stirred up some mystery on top of the actors’ convincing portrayals. If I had a favorite, it was Jessica Chastain. I wasn’t able to decipher her true motive until the very end. Her character had the most passion in a desperate attempt of not being ignored.
What piqued my interest the most was the horror aspect of the movie. From the trailers, it appeared that ghosts and ghouls were running the show, and the human cast is only going along for the ride. While not being the biggest horror fan, I had put on my big boy shoes in anticipation for a visual feast of frights. Instead, I got a microwave dinner of boos, while the food was still cold in the middle. The movie couldn’t be any scary even if it tried. It simply isn’t, and uses this set up as a cheap ploy to get you to the theater. The ghosts are present, but briefly throughout the film. It didn’t have any jump scares thank goodness, but the lingering silhouettes of death lurking around didn’t do the job either. They come and go constantly, but don’t further the story in any way. This is frustrating, especially with such a strong opening of teases. I had faith in the promises made by the trailers, and held on for as long as I could. Although, after a while I gave up, being bored out of my mind, wanting something unique or special to happen.
By this point nothing was going the way it should. After you finally realize this isn’t the movie what you thought it was set out to be, you’re only left with the characters and their uninspiring, disgusting love story. In a nut shell, this is an uncomfortable gothic love story, which was completely unnecessary. For the mission of creating a gothic love story, the movie achieved its goal. Firstly, the film starts out with Wasikowska’s character Edith Cussing receiving warnings of a distant future, but they never explain the reasons behind them, other than repeating themselves. There was no real relevance to the tie-in they attempted to make with the ghosts. Can ghosts predict the future now? For a scene that standout, its significance in the final act of the film was beyond flimsy. Nothing paid off in the slightest. Characters are told never to go down stairs, and we’re left with the film never addressing those questions. Imagine I say, there’s a monster in the closet: you hear the monster, then approach the closet, but then the film decides to never show you the closet again or what’s inside or why it’s even there or explain its significance in any form.
It’s been quite a while since I was so disappointed with an outcome, even with my expectations being so low. The true mystery is the writing that took place with Crimson Peak. The presence of ghosts in the film was a wasted opportunity and completely unnecessary for the story. To sound intelligent, the excuse used for their existence is supposedly a metaphor through writing, but this never comes to fruition. There’s no explanation to it which causing confusion. While the imagery was mesmerizing to watch, the plot didn’t match this imagery. That imagery is all a waste of something truly beautiful. All I want is movies to be what they say they are, but not trick you into anticipating something and not delivering it. Not delivering what the movie promises to is not fair; in fact, it’s rude and is an obstacle to anything considerably entertaining. Somewhere down the line Del Toro got lost, but I hope he finds his way before it’s all too late.