By Shakila Caldwell-
If you are tired of seeing modern day horror films that elicit more laughs and disappointment than fear and confusion, Crimson Peak is the film for you. Finally, a horror film that gives the genre a good name. Director Guillermo del Toro creates a world that overwhelms viewers with detail by using on screen-physicality (actor-to-actor interaction) and symbolism. The screenplay mirrors Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Hitchcock’s Notorious in several significant ways, but you will have to watch it yourself to identify the connections.
Crimson Peak is a gothic romance that is crafted very well from its fast pace to its well designed Victorian sets and costumes. Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, and Charlie Hunnam all make great leads. The actors’ performances cause a visceral response that long resonates with the audience. As necessary in most horror films, gore is also prominently used. To avoid too many spoilers, I will refrain from saying which scenes are the most jarring.
Allerdale Hall is where the movie truly begins. The atmosphere is filled with dark secrets and sexual passion. Monsters are not only supernatural, but human as well. The black and heavily armored estate is a common trope for horror films. It is built in the middle of an empty field where it always rains and the sky is covered with fog. It creaks and moans and has the typical bumps in the night. But what is a haunted mansion without those illusions?
Heiress Edith Cushing (played by Mia Wasikowska) is a sheltered young girl who falls for a British knight, Thomas Sharp (played by Tom Hiddleston). She marries him and moves to his estate in England, completely unaware of what she has gotten herself into. Cushing finds out the floors of the estate bleed death. As the movie progresses, she starts to understand why she is really there and what spirits this huge estate possesses. Cushing wants to escape more and more every day, and soon notices that the estate confirms her deceased mother’s ominous warnings.
If you are looking for gut-spilling, cannibalism, or decapitation, this is not the film for you–del Toro made sure that this is not just another modern day scary movie. He put a lot of time into the development of a love triangle, while also building anticipation and a creepy atmosphere. Although there is no gut-spilling, the scary scenes are unsettling and rarely cheesy. I was able to predict some of the scenes, but I still appreciate this gothic horror story and its traditional spins on a modern day platform. It makes you believe in love, while simultaneously sending shivers down your spine. I recommend checking it out.