Leave it to Guillermo del Toro to be a part of the writing team and direct, along with Legendary Pictures, a ghost story that can only happen at “Crimson Peak.”
Edith (Mia Wasikowska) is a young girl ahead of her time. Wishing to publish her stories she is only met with kind rejection. Using her father Carter Cushing’s (Jim Beaver) office typewriter, she meets Baronet Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston).
Sharpe has come to Cushing to find investors for a machine he believes will revolutionize the digging of earth materials. Bringing his idea forward, Sharpe is met with scrutiny by Edith’s father and probably more so when he realizes Edith is taken with Sharpe.
Looking to Edith as well is Dr. Alan McMichael (Charlie Hunnam) who clearly has feelings for the young woman. At a town gathering, Edith meets Sharpes’ sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain) who greets the woman a little coolly. That doesn’t stop Sharpe and Edith from spending time together!
What does stop it is a private investigator hired by Cushing to discover the story behind the Sharpe’s. When it becomes clear what they are after, Edith’s father buys them off to go away and forget his daughter. It is Sharpe who can not stay away from the young woman and after a tragedy – the couple marries and returns to the Sharpe Estate in England.
Arriving to a house that is falling down brick by brick, Edith tries to make herself at home. The problem lies deep within as the ghosts begin to reach out to her with the secrets that can not rest.
This house is alive with truths it is dying to tell!
Wasikowska as Edith is the perfect choice for this role. She has the lovely look of the era (proving time and time again works for her) and when it’s time for her hair to come down and face to become forlorn – she nails it. Don’t let Edith’s quiet demeanor fool you as this young lady might not like ghosts but she isn’t afraid to find out why they are stalking her. Plus, and it has to be said, Wasikowska looks stunning in period piece costumes.
Chastain as Lucille has a heart as cold as the brick that holds the estate home up! She isn’t about to be besties with Edith and clearly has an agenda that she is sticking too. Chastain is deliciously bad in this role and I loved it. She is an actress who can play a character good, bad or indifferent giving it a life of its own and in “Crimson Peak” she delivers once again.
Hunnam as McMichael has a small role as the lovelorn eye doctor who wants to understand Edith’s obsession with ghosts. Being a gentleman of the times he doesn’t stand in the way of Edith’s happiness that is until he can prove there is a reason to be concerned for her well being. Beaver as Cushing has a quick role but an awesome one at the same time.
Hiddleston as Thomas Sharpe just continues to bring good work to the screen. In 2001 I saw him in “The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby” and knew I was seeing the beginning of his career. In the series “Wallander,” I was hoping Hiddleston’s next jump would be to film and two years later he delighted fans as Loki in “Thor.” As the character Sharpe, fans get the full experience of a man dealing with demons (literally), hiding a history, and the experience of love. There is nothing about this character I don’t enjoy!
Other cast include Burn Gorman as Holly, Leslie Hope as Mrs. McMichael, Jonathan Hyde as Ogilvie, Bruce Gray as Ferguson and the ever fantastic Mr. Doug Jones in a role I’ll let everyone figure out!
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give “Crimson Peak” three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. Let talk about the good stuff – the costuming is absolutely stunning, I mean really stunning. From the beautiful dresses, to the tailored suits it is sheer perfection. I’m pretty much a sucker for amazing costuming. The same can be said for cinematography and “Crimson Peak” gives the audience plenty of shots that are spectacular.
Wasikowska, Chastain and Hiddleston breathe everything glorious into this ghost story and are aided by their surroundings. It truly was a pure joy watching these three actors take “Crimson Peak” to creepy heights with their portrayals.
The special effects were very cool and didn’t overtake the film. There was just enough and perfectly placed so I’m thanking del Torro for that obviously. That being said my only downer is that I felt like there were moments I was being talked down to – as if the story thought I couldn’t take it so it was watered down. When that happened it made it easy for me to know where the ghosts were leading me. Personally I don’t want to know that much so soon!
Okay, other than that I think “Crimson Peak” gives audiences the old fashioned scary story without a lot of gore to ruin it. Instead, in the theater we will take a deep breath, say “oh my gosh!” a few times, jump more than a few times and grab onto who ever is next to us and enjoy the eerie house that is surrounded by snowy crimson!
In the end — beware!