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Crimson Peak (2015)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Guillermo del Toro

Starring:
Mia Wasikowska/Edith
Jessica Chastain/Lucille
Tom Hiddleston/Thomas Sharpe
Charlie Hunnam/Dr. Alan
9 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Aspiring auteur Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) falls in love and marries an eccentric inventor named Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston). She moves in with him (and his sister - Jessica Chastain) in a beautiful yet decrepit mansion and quickly finds out that ghosts are abound and that there’s a potent mystery to solve…
THE LOWDOWN

Better late than never! I've been travelling a lot now of late hence my lateness on addressing CRIMSON CREAK. But there was no freaking way I’d miss out on a Guillermo del Toro flick on the big screen. Love or hate his work, you can’t deny that the lad always strives further than the norm in terms of attention to details and telling a distinctive story. The Devil's Backbone (2001), Pan's Labyrinth (2006), the Hellboy movies… shit… even when he tackles a superhero flick like Blade II, it comes off as novel and all del Toro! The man is an auteur and an artist and I couldn’t have more respect for him and his talent. Which bring us to CRIMSON PEAK. Didn’t quite know what to expect from it, I went in fairly blind and I must admit that I was pretty much blown away by it.

CRIMSON PEAK was more a of a doomed Gothic romance with ghosts in it mixed with Giallo elements than an bonafide horror movie (in fact a line of dialogue in the film “It's not a ghost story, it’s a story with ghosts in it” echoes it’s M.O. to a T). And that was all good with me! It felt like it had been eons that I had sat down and watched a movie that carefully developed its characters, their relationships and the sordid situation at hand. At about 30 minutes, I turned to my date and said: “Wow, it feels great to watch a REAL movie for a change.” By that I meant; not a product structured around a rating or/and an opening weekend but a piece of earnest cinema. Even with its flaws in tow (more on those below), CRIMSON PEAK had so much ambition and heart, that I couldn’t help but fall in love with it.

For the most part the film had me in its grasp the whole way through. The mystery had my noggin working over time, the unsettling ghost apparitions gave me the freaking willies (a mix of practical with CG enhancements) and the characters and their evolving twisty-turvy relationships stimulated me. Mia Wasikowska was sublime as our naïve yet strong and independent heroine, Jessica Chastain was hypnotizing as the intense and secretive sister and Tom Hiddleston was all boyish charm as the younger brother. On their end Charlie Hunnam and the great Jim Beaver (Bobby in Supernatural) also came through with their secondary roles. As a Supernatural fan, I got to say that it was swell to see Beaver tackle on a meaty role in a big production. Good on ya sir!

Lets not forget the stellar costume/production designs which were important characters in the film in their own ways. The sets were striking in their mix of beauty and decay (which seemed to be a running theme in the picture - like the butterflies and the moths) while the costumes were faithful to the era but also revealing when it came to the nature of the characters. Visually, the mix of del Toro’s (and ace DP Dan Laustsen) classical camera shots (lots of wide shots and slow push-ins) and the moody Mario Bava-ish like lighting resulted in an almost overwhelming feast for my retinas! Yup, the imagery here was BEYOND powerful. Wow! Add to all that genius, moments of genuine tension, gory bits that came out of nowhere and whooped me stupid, a haunting score by Fernando Velázquez and a visceral last act that brought it all home with gusto and you get an elevated genre opus, one that only a director of del Toro's ilk could execute.

Any peeves? Some. My problems with CRIMSON PEAK were actually all script related and surfaced in my noggin after my screening was done i.e. when I got the chance to mull over what I had seen. For starters, the character of Edith was WAYYYYYY too naïve. Red flag kept popping up in her face about her new friends and she inexplicably didn’t see ONE of them. How dense can one be? Then we had some characters doing dumb moves to serve the plot. Now the film wasn't filled to the brim with them, but it had a couple of severe one. Finally; the hole in the roof of the house had me scratching my head in the sense of: ”Now that they have money; why won’t they fix it?” But after seeing dead leaves or snow flakes gracefully fall through it into the main hall of the house– I realized that was a duh decision to serve the film’s aesthetics (and to also cummunicate the passing of time) and being that I am a style whore – all was forgiven quickly. 

Overall, I left the movie theatre a very content movie fan! CRIMSON PEAK made for an absorbing Ghotic romance and an eerie horror film, one that was tagged with a mystery that kept me guessing to boot! It was also definitely the most macabre gorgeous picture of the year! One to see again and one to own… well for me that is!

GORE
We get varied stabbings (that one in the face... ouch), a head bashed in and grisly looking ghosts! This one went Giallo on my ass with its kills!
T & A
We got two sex scenes and all that resulted out of them was a shot of Tom Hiddleston's ass. For shame...;)
BOTTOM LINE
Been reading reviews out there that are pretty harsh with CRIMSON PEAK. The f*ck?! well I’m happy I’m not those guys! CRIMSON PEAK was a gripping romantic mystery and a chilling ghost story! It pimped out an excellent cast, layered characters, true scares, visually stunning imagery, unflinching Giallo like violence and lighting, costume and set designs that had my jaw drop to the ground! Yeah the script had a couple of holes and lapses in logic in it, for me, they popped up after my screening once I could mull over the film, but they didn‘t hinder my watch! To be honest, CRIMSON PEAK was the kind of movie I was loving so fervently, that I didn’t want it to end. Transfixing from beginning to end! Del Toro has done it again for this clown!
BULL'S EYE
Benedict Cumberbatch was originally cast as Thomas but left due to creative reasons. He was replaced by Tom Hiddleston.

Emma Stone was cast as Edith but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts.

Del Toro regular Doug Jones played two ghosts here:Edith's Mother and Lady Sharpe
Strikeback
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7:16PM on 10/27/2015

I really enjoyed the film..

I had an interesting time with this film.. saw it at a midnight showing on the opening Thursday night (and in IMAX format, which, if you can, is how you should see it), and within the first 10 minutes, I knew I was in for something different. Like The Arrow said, this really is, to use his term, a Gothic romance, one that also just happens to have some ghosts and some quick, grisly violence here and there. It certainly felt like its running length to me (it's a minute short of two hours), but
I had an interesting time with this film.. saw it at a midnight showing on the opening Thursday night (and in IMAX format, which, if you can, is how you should see it), and within the first 10 minutes, I knew I was in for something different. Like The Arrow said, this really is, to use his term, a Gothic romance, one that also just happens to have some ghosts and some quick, grisly violence here and there. It certainly felt like its running length to me (it's a minute short of two hours), but in a good way. Again, like the Arrow said, it felt like I was watching a REAL movie. One with class and sophistication and substance, and some good old-fashioned horror, too. It is definitely a movie I'd enjoy seeing again, especially when it comes to Blu-ray. The cinematography and art direction were such perfection that it'll shine even in a home viewing in high definition. As for my "complaints," if you will, most of them were about Mia Wasikowska, in all honesty. That's not to say she was the weakest link, or even A weak link in general, but I didn't fully believe her character at times. She was too naive for a majority of the picture, and for a woman aspiring to be the next Mary Shelley, that just didn't seem.. right. And also, there were moments here and there where I felt that Wasikowska was a bit miscast, but her continued strong performance throughout the film mostly made up for that, especially in its finale. Although, personally (and I'm probably alone on this), I would have actually have LOVED to have seen Emma Stone in the role. At first thought, she doesn't sound right for it, but Stone's work is usually always exceptional, and I'd love to see her tackle the horror genre (and especially del Toro's horror genre). And finally, and I KNOW that this is just me, but for some reason, I kept having flashes of "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" at times.. no idea why, but for some reason, the huge, Gothic mansion kept bringing that (kinda bad) remake to mind. Overall, wonderful film.. if you can, see it in theaters (especially if you have the option to see it in IMAX!).
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