Movie Review: “Crimson Peak” – Not What You’d Expect

Written by Caitlin Cooper October 28, 2015

crimson peak

I’m not one for horror films because they either really, really creep me out, or they end up being dumb (the latter happens the most often). I do, however, really like period films and this month’s “Crimson Peak” seemed like it could be the type of ghost film I’d enjoy. It’s set in the past in an old estate with ghosts and dark secrets that a heroine has to uncover in order to stay alive. However, for a film whose trailer boasted lots of creepy scenes, this film is fairly  tame and, well, different. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.

“Crimson Peak” tells the tale of a young woman named Edith (Mia Wasikowska) who has seen ghosts all her life thanks to a family tragedy. She’s grown up a bit different, and is trying to get her gothic horror novel with ghosts and romance published. When the dark and mysterious Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) and his sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain) come into town seeking financial backers for their mining business, Edith is captivated. Thomas is sweet and quiet, and Edith recognizes her drive for success in him. Once another family tragedy strikes, this one leaving Edith the last one in her family, Edith marries Thomas and moves into his family estate to leave behind her tragic past. But she begins seeing ghosts with increasing frequency, and they’ve all died gruesome deaths. As Edith grows sick and begins to be suspicious of her new family, she finds herself in a race against time to learn the truth about the nicknamed Crimson Peak.

“Where I come from, ghosts are not to be taken lightly.”

The plot of this film may be a little predictable and have cliche moments, but overall it’s actually a good, creepy story about abuse, murder, and greed. There are ghosts, but they aren’t a constant presence like the trailer suggests. The identity of the ultimate villain in the story isn’t black and white. I liked that the story is actually quite dark when you get to the reveal. But the big issue with “Crimson Peak” is that the movie is actually quite long, and it takes awhile to get much plot movement because it’s so focused on its lush and grand visuals and setting a scene as both creepy and yet visually entertaining. Also, we’re supposed to believe that the love Edith feels for Thomas is real, but we’re given barely any screen time to see their relationship realistically develop. And though there are moments where we see Thomas surprised by how genuine and kind Edith is, it’s still not quite convincing that Edith is so different from every woman that he’s known that he’s fallen in love and is inspired to change. When you finally understand the little details and the big picture at the end of the film, it’s easy to appreciate what “Crimson Peak” was trying to do. However, it takes so long to get there and there are plot holes and inconsistencies that make it hard to actually enjoy the film, especially as horror.

crimson peak

The acting in “Crimson Peak” is actually pretty good overall. Wasikowska plays kind-hearted and strong Edith very convincingly. She is both vulnerable and brave. We see her go from rather happy to struggling to fighting. The character goes through a lot, and it all seems very authentic thanks to Wasikowska‘s acting. Hiddleston as Thomas is somehow both a dark accomplice and a childlike person who’s been abused his whole life. Chastain as Lucille is pretty creepy and sinister (though sometimes her anger is a little over-the-top). It’s a shame the script is a bit inconsistent and a lot slow, because a good cast can’t quite make the film good when it has a weak script.

“You are monsters.”

If you’re looking for a scary film to watch this Halloween, “Crimson Peak” may not be for you. It’s a different kind of horror than you’d expect, with a slow build-up and no jumps. The ghosts themselves don’t look that scary in comparison with other ghost films. It’s more of a murder mystery with ghosts than a true horror film by modern standards. So if you’re looking for something more mild that still has some gore peppered throughout, then this might be for you. Otherwise, you’ll probably be disappointed.

My Rating: 5.5/10

crimson peak

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About Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin is an avid watcher of movies and television shows so she decided to use her passion to write about them. She has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a Minor in Creative Writing.

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