*** out of ****
Following the sudden and questionable death of her father, Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) decides to marry mysterious outsider Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston). With his shrew of a sister, Lucille (Jessica Chastain), in tow, they move into the dilapidated Sharpe mansion, located atop of “Crimson Peak”, named so because of the red clay that spews from its ground. Almost immediately Edith begins to see apparitions in the mansion's lonely halls. Who are these ghosts and what do they want?
Master filmmaker Guillermo del Toro's latest is lesser del Toro. It's derivative of his superior The Devil's Backbone (2001), but not as fresh and imaginative. Crimson Peak is slow moving, wildly predictable (I was always one step ahead of its plot points) and characters occasionally display lapses in good judgment. So, why do I actually like this movie?
Despite its shortcomings, del Toro injects this Gothic ghost story with creepy atmosphere and some genuine suspense in the final reel. The film is also beautifully designed, from sets to costumes to photography. And the performances are quite good, especially Hiddleston as a conflicted soul. And it's just cool to see del Toro's homage to filmmaker Mario Bava as well as the horror movies made at Britain's Hammer Studios back in the day.