|CRIMSON PEAK (director/writer: Guillermo del Toro; screenwriters: Matthew Robbins/Lucinda Coxon; cinematographer: Dan Laustsen; editor: Bernat Vilaplana; music: Fernando Velazquez; cast: Mia Wasikowska (Edith Cushing), Jessica Chastain (Lucille Sharpe), Tom Hiddleston (Thomas Sharpe), Charlie Hunnam (Dr. Alan McMichael), Jim Beaver (Carter Cushing), Burn Gorman (Holly), Leslie Hope (Mrs. McMichael), Jonathan Hyde (Ogilvie), Doug Jones (Edith's Mother, Lady Sharpe); Runtime: 119; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Thomas Tull/Jon Jashni, Guillermo del Toro/Callum Greene; Universal Pictures; 2015)|
|"Never excites as much as
it indulges the senses with a creepiness."
by Dennis Schwartz
captivating Gothic costume romance story, that never excites
as much as it indulges the senses with a
creepiness. Writer-director Guillermo del Toro
("Pacific Rim"/"Trollhunters"/"Beast") keeps it
overblown with a no substance narrative, but is
stylishly pleasing with a menacing atmosphere. It
plays out as an unhinged horror/ghost story tacked
onto a familiar melodrama tale. Co-writers with Toro
are Matthew Robbins/Lucinda Coxon, who might have been
better off shooting for camp than playing this
one out as a bitchy horror pic ride to torment a
lonely bride who sees a ghost.
British baronet Thomas Sharpe (Tom
Hiddleston) and his slippery sister Lucille
Sharpe (Jessica Chastain) have arrived
in Buffalo, NY, at the turn of the 20th
century, to sell his invention of a “clay
harvester,” a mining machine, to a rich widowed
industrialist. The handsome con artist meets Edith
Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), the
vulnerable virgin daughter to the wealthy widowed
industrialist Carter Cushing (Jim Beaver). The wannabe
Mary Shelley is trying to publish her supernatural
romance novel. After Edith's father's untimely demise,
Thomas manages to convince Edith to join him in
his gloomy crumbling English haunted castle, at
Crimson Peak, he shares with his diabolical
can bet your knickers that there's trouble ahead for
the sympathetic heroine, married to Sharpe, who is in
obvious danger from the untrustworthy couple.
opening scene, when Edith was 10, she was warned by
the ghost of her dead mom (Doug Jones) to “Beware
of Crimson Peak.”
Things happen at the isolated castle that are more repulsive than scary, as it bloody well works its way into being a predictable musty haunted old house film. The sumptuous crimson-toned pic straddles the lines between visual pleasure and Grand Guignol gore, but can't build on suspense or make its subplot about the decline of the aristocracy have a greater impact.
REVIEWED ON 10/1/2015 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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