When director Guillermo Del Toro makes a new horror movie, you can’t help but take notice. I mean this is the man who directed the superbly scary The Devil’s Backbone and than followed that up with the masterpiece that was Pan’s Labyrinth. He also acted as a producer on The Orphanage, which was not only a great horror movie but contains the hands down most stunning twist I have ever seen in any movie! So the expectations were clearly a bit high for his return to horror with Crimson Peak, a ghost tale that seemed right up Del Toro’s alley.
Unfortunately this will not be remember as one of the directors best work, as it ends up being a clunky, silly and confusing story, that never really feels sure of were it wants to go and the story it wants to tell. Its biggest sin though, is that it is just truly boring to watch, never really captivating us the audience nor holding our attention.
Mia Wasikowska plays Edith Crushing a young lady who has seen ghostly figures her entire life, but can never figure out the message they are trying to deliver to her. After a major family tragedy takes place she finds herself torn between two lovers, her long time childhood friend Dr. Alan McMichael (Charlie Hunnam) and Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) a business man who has stopped by town to try and convince Edith’s father, to finance his personal pet project. The two men feud over Edith, until Sharpe is able to convince her to marry him and move away to his massive castle he shares with his sister Lucille (a chilly Jessica Chastain) who seems to harbor some resentment towards Edith, for intruding on her odd relationship with her brother.
The massive house is filled with creaks and strange noises and soon Edith starts to see a series of ghost like figures, who are clearly trying to warn her about something, but she still can’t figure out what.
Where the film falls apart in the screenplay department, visually it is one of the most stunning films of the year. The film is beaming with a wonderful assortment of colors that make for some of the most beautiful scenes in any movie ever. The are used perfectly to balance the often dark and grey elements of the film. The Cinematography by Dan Laustsen is astonishing, containing some wonderful shots and truly building a creepy atmosphere.
Everyone does a fine job in the acting department but because to movie seems to lack a clear direction it is hard for the actors to really make a major mark, even if they try as hard as they have here.
In the end this just feels like a movie that Del Toro completed quickly to pass the time between the next Pacific Rim or Hellboy films. It is not up to the usual standards of the strong director, who usually knows when to walk away from a project, like he did with The Hobbit. He should have done the same here.