Release year: 2015
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Screenwriter: Guillermo del Toro, Matthew Robbins
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam, Jim Beaver, Burn Gorman, Leslie Hope, Doug Jones
Ratings: 9 Saturn award nominations: Best Horror, Best Director, Best Writing, Best Actress (Mia Wasikowska), Best Supporting Actress (Jessica Chastain), Best Music, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Make-Up. 4 Empire awards: Best Horror, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Hair Styling, Best Best Production Design.
In the Victorian era young aspiring author Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) falls in love with the mysterious Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston). But when she after their marriage goes to live with him and his sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain) in their mansion far away she finds herself hearing things at night in a house that breathes, bleeds, and remembers.
Not so much a ghost story as a love story with ghosts in it, Mexican director Del Toro’s (Hellboy, 2004) eerie tale is a smorgasbord of gothic scenery. Visually finding inspiration in the movies of Italian director Mario Bava (Black Sunday, 1960) the details of the movie’s set and costume design is so complete that even if you watched a movie without any story you wouldn’t feel cheated. But as it is, the rich colours and lavish costumes fit perfectly to the spooky love story. With strong focus on characters it takes its own sweet time, which is a good thing as the excellent performances leave you in anticipation of what’s to come. Wasikowska (Stoker, 2013) is a perfect cast for the innocent girl lured into a house of secrets and finds a good companion in an enigmatic Hiddleston (Thor, 2011) while Hunnam (Pacific Rim, 2013) is the voice of reason as Edith’s childhood friend. But the show stealer is a wicked Chastain (Mama, 2013) whose piercing glare and obvious dislike of the people around her is the strongest indicator of something being off, brought forward by Chastain’s careful and delicate performance. It may be seen as a weakness that the last half is predictable, but with the period setting and loving nods to gothic horror stories it only adds to the details and makes Crimson Peak yet another masterpiece from the Mexican director.
The house and everything in it was built especially for the film with not a single item being reused.
Picture copyright: UIP