Visuals / Camera
Pacing / Editing
Entertainment Value / X-Factor
Mood / Atmosphere
If you're into gruesome Victorian chillers, this is it.
Reviewed By: Hollie Donaldson
The film Crimson Peak, directed and produced by Guillermo del Toro, was released October 16, 2015. I’ve just recently watched this film and thoroughly enjoyed it.
It’s a classic story of a young woman that falls in love with a man and moves to London during the gothic Victorian Era. Even though that kind/ genre of films and novels is a bit overdone in my opinion, Crimson Peak takes a sharp and harsh turn no one is able to fathom. The beginning is haunting, eerie, and mysterious, almost as if the scene was screaming out “proceed with caution”.
Edith, the main character, covered in blood and a nasty gash across her face, looking baffled and horrified. Then it flashes to the past when she’s young. The setting of this scene; Edith, only ten years old, in her dark bedroom, the door open to a long harrowing hallway, sees the ghastly spirit of her mother, uttering out the haunting words, “when the time comes, beware of Crimson Peak”. Edith saw the same spirit of her mother, fourteen years later; giving a classic jump scare when she bursts through the closed door with the very same warning.
I liked how Edith was longing to be a successful writer, tons of manuscripts she carried and took to be read over and published. She didn’t want to write fancy and proper romance novels like all the rest of the women writers during that time period; she wanted to be more like Mary Shelley; as she said. The bathroom scene with Edith’s father is a scene that stands out and continues to replay in my mind. Mr. Cushing is shaving at the sink, and hears a noise; his razor falling off the sink in the process of him going to gaze out in the hallway. When he returns to pick up the razor, his head is bashed into the sink repeatedly until his lifeless body lies on the floor. The face of the murderer isn’t shown though. I liked the scene so much and watched it over and over because of the surroundings; the steam from the showers, the over flowing sink, the tile on the floors, and seemingly cheery music playing in the background. It reminded me slightly of the iconic shower scene in the 1960 film, Psycho.
When Edith meets Sir Thomas Sharpe, they move to London and Edith sees the Mansion that he and sister live in. The detail of the mansion is outstanding. It’s old, but still elegant; a strange elegance. The sheer architecture of it; the dark and dimly lit hallways Edith walks down, the “forbidden” basement, the oval arches with gothic detailing. I loved the look of it; the many floors and levels complete with a metal elevator. I could almost feel Edith’s hesitation when she’s making her way to the front door. Thomas Sharpe has a massive contraption that produces blood red clay in front, yards away from the mansion. The clay is used to make the strongest bricks to build other projects in the future.
Later on in the film, Edith is noticing other terrifying spirits appearing around corners and in hallways, and even popping up and dragging their “corpses” that are bony and with ligaments, tendons, and muscles merely hanging on to the bone across the wooden, creaky floors. Only this time, the ghosts are dripping with the red clay that fills the mansion, making them appear to be bleeding as they make their way toward Edith. She soon finds the red clay seeping off and out of the cracks of the walls like thick, oozing blood, suggesting a reference to The Shining, I would think; that’s what I took it as, and thought it was brilliant. Soon the front yard is nearly covered in the seeping blood red clay; hence why it’s called “Crimson Peak”, and Edith then understands the warnings she was given.
The ending is perfect, and unforeseen and absolutely unforgiving in the violence and gore factor, along with a twist ending that will leave viewers with his or her jaw permanently hanging open. This movie is loaded with references to other movies as I mentioned earlier, and it makes the film that much better. If you’re into gruesome Victorian chillers, this is it.