The Horror Honeys: New Release Review: Beware Crimson Peak

New Release Review: Beware Crimson Peak

A Supernatural Honey New Release Review by Suzanne

Crimson Peak (2015)

“Ghosts are real, this much I know.”

I worship at the altar of Guillermo del Toro and, since its announcement, Crimson Peak has been the most anticipated film of the year for me, as well as the majority of The Horror Honeys. There is no one, in my humble opinion, who can create a visual feast like del Toro and you will have no choice but to binge at this meal, from the opening shot through the end credits. 

Aspiring author, Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), who has no time for love and romance, becomes taken with mysterious English Baronet, Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston). Sharpe has come to America with his sister, Lady Lucille Sharpe (Jessica Chastain), to seek financing for a machine that will dig up the valuable red clay on which their family manor sits. Edith’s father doesn’t trust the Sharpes and with good reason. When Mr. Cushing dies under mysterious circumstances, Edith quickly marries Thomas and travels to Allerdale Hall, the Sharpe’s family home, and soon finds herself in imminent danger. She must rely on her wits and the ghosts of Crimson Peak if she is to survive.

Nothing quite so soothing as a mother's touch... 
The opening scene sets the stage for Edith’s belief in the supernatural. Her mother passes when she is a child and reappears as a ghost, telling her, “When the time comes, beware of Crimson Peak,” a warning that will come again when she is older, but one she won’t understand until it’s too late.

Wasikowska does an admirable job as the head strong and willful, Edith. It’s refreshing to see such an independent young woman who is far more interested in being her own person, rather than settling to be the significant other of her childhood friend, especially considering the period. It seems she inherited her traits from her hard working, self-made father, Carter, played marvelously by Jim Beaver. Beaver commands every scene he’s in with humor or intimidation, depending on who he’s speaking with.  Dr. Alan McMichael, who longs to be the object of Edith’s affection, is played by Charlie Hunnam, who couldn’t be more irritating and lacking in charm if he tried. Lucky for us, he’s not in it a lot.

Lucille keeps it creepy.
Although the story is about Edith, it’s the Sharpe siblings who own. Jessica Chastain, who I normally can take or leave, really embraced the dark soul of Lucille, but occasionally went a bit overboard. She is cold, calculating, and fiercely protective of her little brother. Then there is Tom Hiddleston. He’s tall and British and beautiful and British… Wait. What was I saying? Hiddleston is actually a pretty good actor. He easily transitions from evil conspirator to vulnerable and loving husband. There is a scene where Thomas attempts to break Edith’s heart at her father’s request and it will crush the romantic 10 year old girl in you.

Could you resist this?
Sidenote: DAT HAIR
The story is nothing out of the ordinary. Many of the twists and turns will be anticipated, from the love story to the very complicated sibling relationship. You know the Sharpes are up to no good from the jump and you know what they want. There are no surprises. It isn’t a ghost story. It is just as del Toro describes, “a gothic romance,” with ghosts. The spirits definitely take second stage to the living and really only serve to assist Edith in her journey. 

Every shot is this beautiful... seriously.
But enough about that. If you’ve ever seen Pan’s Labyrinth you know the feeling of being sucked into that wonderful world of color, design, and creatures. Well, there may not be as many monsters in Crimson Peak, but from a design standpoint, del Toro turned this film up to eleven. From the moment the movie starts, you aren’t sitting in a stinky theater seat, but standing in red stained snow and feeling the cold. You know how I always go on about that beautiful Hammer red? Well, it has finally been eclipsed. The color palette is so lush and vibrant, you can almost taste it. The sets are spectacular and real, and the period costumes are to die for. The only real disappointment in the design would have to be the ghosts. Doug Jones’ signature movements are captured well, but the CG is a little distracting against the practical sets. Fortunately, since the ghosts aren’t the focus, they are used sparingly. 
Tom and I will live here together. Forever.
Crimson Peak has been met with mixed reviews, especially where the story and acting are concerned, but everyone can agree on the exceptional style. Is the story predictable? Yep. Does my cat exude more charm and character than Charlie Hunnam? Anyone who has seen my Instagram feed knows the answer is, indubitably. Regardless, my brain was so focused on capturing every minute detail of the sets, the costumes, and the music, not much else mattered. I was never scared, but I cannot begin to count the number of times I felt a chill. I fully intend on seeing this again and perhaps my opinion will change a little, but for now, I am happy to bask in the chilling beauty of Crimson Peak.
I mean, come on. Look at those eyes!

Supernatural Honey Verdict: 4 face bashings out of 5

Crimson Peak is in theaters this weekend. Go out and see it!