Crimson Peak - 4 Stars
Guillermo del Toro’s new movie, Crimson Peak, is a superbly packaged sound and sight feast and delivers for those wanting a mix of horror and supernatural. Set sometime around the late 1800s, the movie opens with a young Edith Cushing saying “Ghosts are real, that much I know. I've seen them all my life...”.
Edith Cushing (played by Mia Wasikowska) is a fledgling author living with her rich and protective father in New York. Although there’s potential romantic interest from a long time friend, Dr Alan McMichael (played by Charlie Hunnam) this relationship is not destined to flourish, particularly when the mysterious Englishman, Sir Thomas Sharpe, enters the story.
It’s not going to spoil the movie to let you know that Sharpe (played by Tom Hiddleston) ends up marrying Edith. Edith moves to Cumberland (England) to live with Sharpe and his sister, Lucille (played by Jessica Chastain), in the dark and foreboding, though not fully weatherproofed, mansion.
The house, and the lighting and colours used help create the atmosphere of tension that is needed for this story of ghosts and horror. If Edith had thought life had dealt her some difficult blows, it is in the house where she discovers that married life may not be quite what she expected.
The movie isn’t a cheap teenage horror flick filled with cheap and predictable shocks for the audience. Rather, as the story unfolds the incidents of ghostly encounters and human and supernatural induced horror builds.
The main cast all gave solid performances, especially the two lead characters played by Chastain and Wasikowska.
Del Toro, who co-wrote the story with Matthew Robbin, works with the film crew to weave the acting, music, colour and lighting together into a particularly entertaining movie. Be warned there are a couple of scenes that are particularly graphic and generated audible audience groans and comments, so definitely not for the faint-hearted.
Review by Mark Mackay
Screening courtesy of Universal Entertainment