Review: 'Crimson Peak' is Fun but Insubstantial

Wyatt Muma ’18/ Emertainment Monthly Assistant Movies Editor

Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska in Crimson Peak. Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.
Every once in a while, a movie comes along that is so intensely, psychologically frightening that you come to the realization that you will never be able to sleep well again. Crimson Peak is not that movie. But what’s nice is that it doesn’t really pretend to be either. The film is a great way to spend two hours, especially when looking for something spooky and of the season.
The story of a young bride doomed to spend her time in a particularly inhospitable mansion, the story sure is creepy but nothing too special on the horror front. No big surprise, it has more in line with Del Toro’s other projects, awash with lavish gothic elements. This is the film’s greatest strength and weakness. It’s beautiful to look at, but sometimes overpowering in a sense. It’s as subtle as a Lady Gaga superfan at ArtRave. The story itself doesn’t fare much better, with predictable twists and boring explanations to ghostly tomfoolery that goes down in the mansion. The saddest part is it wouldn’t seem out of place in Tim Burton’s post Big Fish filmography, and that’s a compliment to Burton. Del Toro’s passion for the genre can’t save the more clunky parts of the film as a whole.
Jessica Chastain in Crimson Peak. Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.
That being said, I’m not sure if it needs to be the next greatest horror film. It’s enjoyable, pretty, and a fun watch. The actors especially make it worth the viewing. You can almost see how much fun Jessica Chastain is having, Tom Hiddleston is virtually unrecognizable from any other role he’s ever been in, and Mia Wasikowska was born to play a gothic victim. Her saucer size eyes and long wavy hair are the best thing to happen to the genre since Winona Ryder did Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula. I can totally see it being a perennial Halloween classic, something fun and frothy to ignore Trick-or-Treaters to. One of the most exciting parts of the movie is the way it acts as a graveyard for the myriad of abandoned Del Toro films. The influences of “Beauty and the Beast” and Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion are apparent and often. Is it the next Pan’s Labyrinth? Of course not, but it is the first Crimson Peak, and that’s all right for now.
Overall Grade: B
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