Guillermo del Toro is back and has created a visual masterpiece with ‘Crimson Peak.’ Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska and Jessica Chastain star in this gothic thriller, but is it worth the trip to the movies? Here’s what the critics are saying!
Halloween is right around the corner, and the biggest haunted house this year is definitely Crimson Peak. Guillermo del Toro directs this fantasy horror film set in the late 19th century with Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska and Charlie Hunnam trying to draw up the big scares. Is Crimson Peak a hit? The critics are sounding off!
Crimson Peak” is so lovingly wrapped in the stylish trappings of the genre that it’s one of the few movies you could say is worth it purely for the wallpaper… It stars Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain — a fine trio of actors. But the film’s true above-the-title artists are more properly cinematographer Dan Laustsen, production designer Thomas Sanders and costume designer Kate Hawley, who under the lordly command of Del Toro, summon an atmosphere gaga with all things gothic.
Crimson Peak” isn’t awash in gore, but the violence, when it comes, is inventive and bloody and genuinely upsetting; just when you feel del Toro might be camping it up, something comes along to freeze the smirk on your face. The movie is ultimately about atmosphere and little else — it evaporates into curlicues of smoke, like the otherworldly apparitions that bring Edith warnings throughout the story. But Wasikowska nicely balances naivete with spine, and Chastain is something very special as Lucille, a poised pre-Raphaelite beauty with looney-toon eyes. She’s Rebecca and Mrs. Danvers rolled into one, maybe with a bit of Lizzie Borden on the side.
Del Toro lays all this on so thick that you can practically hear him cackling with glee. What makes it work — in addition to the splendid sets and costumes — is the stellar cast, particularly Hiddleston. The only actor in the “Thor” films who didn’t provoke snickering, Hiddleston is marvelous as Sharpe, an enervated aristocrat haunted by dark secrets. It’s a role that could have gone to Vincent Price in a past era. (The film’s old-fashioned feel is slightly undercut by the CGI ghosts.)… You’ll find yourself consistently a step ahead of the plot, but you may not care. “Crimson Peak” is thoroughly entertaining from start to ghastly finish.
A loving throwback to Roger Corman’s Edgar Allan Poe movies and Hammer’s gothic chillers from the ‘60s, Crimson Peak is a cobwebs-and-candelabras chamber piece that’s so preoccupied with being visually stunning it forgets to be scary… Del Toro and cinematographer Dan Laustsen (who worked together on 1997’s Mimic) are clearly having a blast painting every corner of their creepy crimson canvas. But as sumptuous as Crimson Peak looks and as sinister as Hiddleston and Chastain are, you never get transported to the bone-chilling places that a great ghost story should take you.
HollywoodLifers, will you be seeing Crimson Peak? If you’ve seen it, what did you think of it? Let us know!
— Avery Thompson