Crimson Peak (2015) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

Crimson Peak (2015) Directed by Guillermo del Toro. With Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska and Jessica Chastain.


Guillermo del Toro co-writes and directs Crimson Peak, a gothic romantic ghost story starring Mia Wasikowska as an aspiring author, sandwiched between a seductive Tom Hiddleston and a scheming Jessica Chastain. Fleeing tragedy and the ghosts of her past, Edith (Wasikowska) moves into a house that the Addams Family would have a hard time settling into.

Frustratingly, the film isn’t as clever or creepy as you might hope, with CGI ghouls (meh!) and cards-on-the-table plot movements that beg for a thicker veil. Instead, we’re privy, early in proceedings, to the nefarious deeds of certain characters, which subtracts a great degree of mystery.

On the plus, Dan Laustsen’s cinematography evokes a brooding sense of atmosphere that permeates throughout the entire piece, which in turn, is supported by Fernando Velázquez’s beautifully ominous orchestral score. Indeed, all the pieces are in place for a instant classic to blossom, yet the storytelling isn’t half as good as it needs to be around the memorable dressing. The actors, particularly Hiddleston, give fine performances and are suited, booted and frocked in the most stunning attire.

As good as computer-generated special effects often are, with each passing film, I become increasingly certain of my feeling that CGI takes a great deal of horror away from the horror genre. It isn’t hard to understand why a living, breathing special effect has an infinitely greater impact over that of a floating CGI creation. That, however, is a much larger discussion for another time.

As sumptuous and eye-catching as Crimson Peak undeniably is (also shockingly violent on one occasion), an aching sense of conventionality gets its foot in the door, which leads to and culminates in a sense of overall disappointment. This is partly because we know del Toro is capable work like Pans Labyrinth, and we’re quietly hoping to be similarly swept away. Sadly, it’s not even close. 3/5


About garethrhodes

Full-time lover of all things creative.
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8 Responses to Crimson Peak (2015) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

  1. Ben says:

    This felt mis-marketed. It never seemed to want to be a horror movie but instead more of a gothic romance with a supernatural thread. Shame because it had a lot of portential.

    • garethrhodes says:

      Yes, it’s more like Hitchcock’s Rebecca, than The Shining. You’re right about the potential…it has all the ingredients, but becomes all too predictable.

    • Jason says:

      I agree with Ben. The movie was more like gothic period piece drama with some horror-ish elements thrown into the mix. However, I’m not a huge fan of horror flicks, so maybe that’s why I probably like Crimson Peak more than most.

      • garethrhodes says:

        I liked it, to a certain point, but they relied on aesthetic and atmosphere to win the day. It needed to better layered, as a story. Give me twisted gothic romance over straight up horror any day.

  2. Zoë says:

    Great review. I still need to get to this at some stage. For me, Del Toro’s Spanish films are the way to go, I am not sold on the English ones, so I am interested to see how this one is.

  3. yggdrasille says:

    Gorgeous looking movie, but it had no clear idea of what it wanted to be. I’m with you on the CGI – the film did a good job building up the suspense, but the minute the CGI ghosts appeared onscreen I would just snort with laughter.

  4. Wow..this one seems from so long ago.. yet what..only 2 yrs or so now.. you liked it more than I did from what I can remember! 😀

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