Review: 'Crimson Peak' a gothic horror not to be missed this October

With Halloween just around the corner, the Oct. 16 release date of “Crimson Peak” could not have been better. The acting done in this film by a great cast is quite solid and the cinematography is to die for (no pun intended). However, Guillermo del Toro’s gothic romance had one of the lowest openings this weekend behind “Goosebumps”. Not to say the numbers won’t go up in the coming weeks, but its R-rating creates limitations on the kinds of audiences that can view it.

This sophisticated film with its elegant metaphors about survival, love and death actually has a traditional, gothic backstory, where an early 20th century girl called Edith (Mia Wasikowska) ends up marrying the eccentric and mysterious Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston). Sharpe lives in a huge estate which is falling to pieces and his sister, Lucille, played by the beautiful Jessica Chastain, is controlling and protective of him. Her character is quite difficult to place, finding it hard for us to put her into the good or evil category.

All of these characters are stuck together in a ramshackle house, with many horrifying twists and turns causing us to use our detective skills along with Dr. Alan McMichael (Charlie Hunnam), who fancies himself as a kind of Sherlock Holmes in the film.

Guillermo del Toro has always had a highly supportive fan club with his reputation for developing multidimensional characters, including female protagonists who take charge. Wasikowska, no stranger to gothic films with her parts in movies like “Stoker and “Only Lovers Left Alive,” gives a top-notch performance as an innocent, young writer who ends up trapped in a haunted house. On the other hand, Tom Hiddleston’s Sir Thomas Sharpe is eerie, but his eyes have a kind of affection, which further describes the different layers that del Toro’s characters possess.

The characters both have such a strong presence on screen. Edith has tons of emotions running through her while Lucille almost succeeds in holding her feelings back, making this melodrama quite the experience to watch. Chastain’s Lucille is overpowering and a lot scarier than the special effects created to spook the audiences.

Although its plot is conventional, the execution onto the big screen was refined and the ‘ghostly’ special effects were a stark contrast to the dark, bleak tone of the film, but it complemented the storyline quite nicely Though “Crimson Peak” does have its extremely violent moments, the acting, the twisted story that unfolds and the sense of impending doom make this film much more shocking than the special effects commonly used in other movies.

This Halloween, “Crimson Peak” should be near the top of your list.


Priyanka Valand is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus.