The trailer immediately set the tone for something quite spectacular, promising not only horror and suspense but beautifully crafted visuals. On all those points and far beyond, Crimson Peak did not disappoint.
Starring Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain and Tom Hiddleston, the film tells the story of a young American writer and newlywed, who finds herself in a world of unexpected horrors when she moves into her husband’s ancient home.
The film, like most gothic romances, is centered on a building which houses not only the Sharpe siblings, but gruesome spectres from their past, bound to the house after suffering violent deaths.
Edith Cushing, played by Mia Wasikowska, is a strong female lead, who despite being haunted by her surroundings uses her unfortunate circumstances to discover the truth about the Sharpe family’s past. She must not only battle to uncover what the ghosts want from her, but also with her own feelings for a man who is not at all as he seemed.
Thomas Sharpe, portrayed by Tom Hiddleston, is the character in which you see the most interesting development. His traumatic past, which has shaped him so much, does not seem to have broken him as it has his sister.
Through his relationship with Edith there are clear moments in which he becomes more human. Their story is what qualifies the film as a romance, and some would argue, a tragedy. The development that the two undergo together is really the core of the story, it provides both moments of warmth and heartbreak, in what would otherwise be a storyline devoid of relatable emotion.
One of the most interesting things to note about this style of horror, is how drastically different it is from the majority of horror that hits the screens these days.
The depth of insight you receive into all three of the lead’s lives makes their motivations quite clear, even when they’re performing the most twisted acts.
Jessica Chastain’s portrayal of Lucille Sharpe in particular must be applauded, as her character is so evidently unhinged. She succeeds in making what should be a completely unrelatable character into someone who you can almost sympathise with. Almost, but not quite.
Visually, Crimson Peak is on the verge of perfection. Often in horrors darkness can be an issue, colour is almost lost in the shadows. However here, the colours are consistently striking, and so indicative of the mood of each character and location.
The way the film has approached the image of ghosts is also something that sets it aside from your usual horror. The incredible detail that has been applied to the graphics is enough to make you recoil in your seat. There are no fuzzy, almost invisible ghosts, but instead, gory, decomposed and quite frankly terrifying creatures. In short the graphics are absolutely astounding, and it’s well worth watching the film purely for that fact.
Reeeeeally liked CRIMSON PEAK. Visually stunning, compelling story. So great.
— Emily the Pumpkin Queen ? (@Horrorellablog) October 17, 2015
Although it is easy to label Crimson Peak as a horror, there are so many other aspects of genres that come into play throughout the film. There are definitely moments in which it would be advisable to have a cushion to hide behind. It’s not for the faint hearted, but on the whole Crimson Peak makes more of an emotional impact that it does anything else.
Somewhat reminiscent of Sweeney Todd, the audience is left with the overbearing feeling that no one involved will be left capable of living a ‘normal’ life. A feeling which is far more heart breaking than it is scary.
Crimson Peak on a whole hits all the marks it aimed for, though it may not be everybody’s cup of tea. Being so vastly different from the majority of horror that graces our screens, it’s difficult to gauge whether people will connect with it. However with stellar performances from the cast, and such beautifully constructed visuals, it’s hard to believe that anyone could come out of entirely disappointed. A worthwhile watch and a refreshing change to the generic horror theme.
Grand, bloody, gothic, romantic, beautiful. Go see CRIMSON PEAK.
— Paul McEvoy (@paulmcevoy) October 17, 2015
Running time: 119 minutes
Age 15 certificate
By Georgina Holmes