This is hands down the best film Guillermo Del Toro has ever done, and is a special treat for fans of older cinema. Imagine if Mario Bava directed a Gothic romance horror film, you’d end up with something as breathtaking as Crimson Peak. Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowsa, Jane Eyre, Alice in Wonderland) is an aspiring writer in the 1800’s living with her father and trying to write a ghost story after having been visited by her dead mother’s spirit when she was a child. Publishing companies do not take her seriously due to her sex. An aristocratic stranger, Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston, aka Loki from Thor and The Avengers), visiting her father (Jim Beaver, Justified, Deadwood) on business takes a keen interest in her and her writing. The two end up courting and eventually married, and Edith finds herself whisked away to the Sharpe’s decaying English home, Allerdale Hall. Allerdale Hall is situated on a mountain top where clay is a natural resource and is given the nickname Crimson Peak because of it. Oh, and her mom made it a point to come back from the dead twice to tell that damn girl never to go there. It’s as this point our resourceful heroine realizes what kind of predicament she’s gotten herself in and has to figure out what is happening and solve the mystery of the Sharpe family.
I’ll admit I had reservations about this film. As much as I like Del Toro’s films, I’ve never found his non-Spanish films that engaging. Though Crimson Peak unravels as a meticulous pace, I never felt bored. This is largely a credit due to Tom Hiddleston playing another troubled character. Tom could do a scene with just a wet mop and it’d be worth watching, that’s how talented he is and his presence strengthens the film. Every scene feels vital to the mystery of the film and more importantly, make sense and build on all that came before it.. At the risk of spoilers, I’ll say there is no twist ending or “haha got you” moments. Anytime I had a reservation about a plot point, the film would clarify it soon after. Crimson Peak reminded me of the first time I watched Mario Bava’s amazing Black Sabbath (minus the sensuality of it’s first story). The set design of this film can not be commended enough There are many jaw dropping and amazing shots on display that are worth the price of admission alone and I’d be surprised if Crimson Peak is not an Oscar contender for set deign or visual effects. The melodrama gets carried away with near the end, but at the finale, things should get amped up a bit. Very literary and lush, Crimson Peak is the horror movie event of this Halloween and you owe it to yourself to see it.