Story by Adam Winn, Staff writer
“Crimson Peak” is a movie that does a good job of combining several different genres into one. Some viewers might think they are going in to see a typical horror film, and while this film does contain a fair amount of gore and scares, what this film is, at its core, is a love story so complex that it will leave the audience stunned.
The movie is a period piece about a girl named Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) who has had a connection to the supernatural world since she was a little girl and the ghost of her mother visited her, warning her to “beware of Crimson Peak.”
As an adult, she has a strong desire to be a novelist and to write ghost books, even though most people don’t take her stories seriously because she’s a woman and is told she should write love stories instead. During this time, a mysterious man named Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) and his sister, Lucille (Jessica Chastain) enter her life and soon she begins to have romantic feelings for Thomas, which is mutually reciprocated, much to Lucille’s apparent dislike.
After a family tragedy, Edith quickly marries Thomas and they move back to his family’s estate in England where his sister also resides. Not long after being there, Edith begins seeing ghosts and having vivid dreams and soon realizes that things aren’t as they appear to be.
This movie is an amazing work of art, just simply for its visual appearance. The film is set in the late 19th century and all the set designs are extremely elaborate and make the viewer feel like they are actually there in that time period.
The director, Guillermo Del Toro, is known for creating deeply detailed fantasy worlds for his other films, such as “Hellboy” and “Pan’s Labyrinth” and succeeds in doing the same thing with this film as well.
The ghost designs are vividly creepy, not just because of the graphic detail, but the fact that they pop out at just the right time to scare the viewer when they least expect them to. Del Toro uses the right amount of CGI in order to accomplish some of the detail, but not enough to make the viewer feel like what they are watching is purely computer-animated.
The acting is well-done and all of the main cast do an exceptionally good job with their unique character portrayals. The performance that stuck out the most was by Chastain in her role as the secretive sister, Lucille Sharpe. Chastain portrays the character so well that the viewer doesn’t know whether to ultimately feel sorry or be afraid of her.
This film is what happens when an art-house-styled film meets a big budget film, with its big-name cast, expensive sets and intricate storyline. And, in this case, it works.