Sunday, December 13, 2015

'Crimson Peak' Is Beautiful in Form, Lacking in Substance

Director/writer Guillermo del Torro has the reputation of making delightfully eerie movies (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth).  His latest venture, Crimson Peak, is as fine-looking and weird as expected.  However, the story doesn’t have the depth that I was hoping it would have.

Crimson Peak focuses on the only daughter of a rich American businessman named Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) who is smitten by a visiting English baronet, the charming Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleton).  The two get married, and Sir Thomas brings his bride with him to England.  They settle down in the dilapidated and gothic Sharp family mansion located atop a hill of blood-red clay.  Sir Thomas’ sister, Lady Lucille Sharpe (Jessica Chastain) also resides in the mansion and is cold towards Edith, much to the latter’s bemusement.  Adding to Edith’s discomfort is the ghostly apparitions that she starts encountering in the mansion… which eventually brings her to unravel the dark secrets that the Sharpe siblings are harboring.

Despite the presence of creepy ghosts and having a gothic tone, Crimson Peak is not much of a horror movie.  There’s some creepy and disturbing stuff going on, but it’s not really scary.  The narrative is okay.  But I wasn’t invested on it as much as I wanted to.  It just doesn’t have enough story substance, and the twists are predictable.

Visually though, this movie is pleasingly stunning.  The CGI of the ghosts are merely all right.  But the sets and costumes are gorgeous, and the shots are well-executed.  Being beautiful is this movie’s biggest positive.

I love the Victorian-gothic tone that has been accomplished by Crimson Peak.  And it’s actually an entertaining movie.  But, in my opinion, it definitely could have benefited from a few more thoughtful re-writes of the script.

Or maybe it’s just me.  Maybe I was simply hoping too much that it would be another Pan’s Labyrinth.  But, yeah, the point is, I find Crimson Peak lacking. 

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