It’s that time of the year again. As everyone prepares for the festive, over-marketed holiday of Halloween, the film industry begins to pump out movies at the rate that Starbucks does Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Films that promise to terrify, frighten, and spook the general public. As countless decide that due to the approaching holiday, they suddenly realize they no longer fear the ghosts and ghouls these films promise (although they really are terrified, but it’s Halloween so why not). Everyone ventures to the theater, hoping to be thoroughly frightened before All Hallows’ Eve. Crimson Peak is not one of these films.
While there are ghosts, death, and a frightening amount of red goo (not necessarily blood), this film in no way terrified me. Once I realized that I wasn’t going to get the scare factor, I decided to just appreciate it as a romantic film. This didn’t help either. Crimson Peak proved only to succeed in disappointing me.
The film, directed by Guillermo del Toro, presents Edith, a young aspiring author, who states that she has always known ghosts to be real. Following a family tragedy, she is quickly married to a mysterious Englishman Thomas, who takes her to live with him and his odd sister in England, in a house that is slowly sinking into the depths of the earth via red clay. Quickly, Edith realizes it isn’t just them three on top of this “crimson peak.”
With films such as Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy under his belt, you would expect better from del Toro. But instead all he delivered was an impressive looking set, a few neat camera tricks (which became redundant after the first few times), and a minimalist dialogue that only served its purpose of saying what needed to be said and nothing more.
Sadly, I also expected more from the cast. When I go to a movie, I want to be so invested in the characters that I forget about every other role that the actor has ever played. This was not true for Crimson Peak. I found myself remembering Tom Hiddleston galavanting around Asgard as Loki, which drew me further into thinking about my young passionate crush on Chris Hemsworth. I came the the theater to be terrified by some ghosts, not think about Thor’s luscious locks.
And don’t think I’m not going to talk about Jessica Chastain. While I love her dearly, (especially after her jaw dropping, mind blowing performance in Interstellar) I must say that I was disappointed with her performance. She played the character well, yes, but there were no surprises. I knew from the beginning that she was crazy, and that her and her brother were a little too close for comfort. And while I’m hoping that del Toro meant for it to be like this (because truthfully there were no twists or shocks, it was like he told us the ending at the start), it still thoroughly irked me.
I feel as though del Toro spent an excessive amount of time, energy, and resources coming up with a witty way to make the entire set seem bloody and gory (red clay? I mean seriously?), and in turn produced a lackadaisical plot with lines that were barely understandable until it was too late. This film didn’t necessarily confuse me, but it annoyed me. Take my advice, if you want to be scared, just think about Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy, and don’t go see this film.