Crimson Peak is a disappointment for the Halloween season

2.5/5 stars


provided by IMDb

Lucas Koprowski, Sports Editor

Reading Time: 4 minutes

While tantalizing ghosts and horrific deaths may keep my eyes on the screen, Crimson Peak left my mind craving more depth and ultimately made me felt unenthused by the anticlimactic ambiance. Even though this movie had many strong performers in its cast, such as Tom Hiddleston and Charlie Hunnam, the script and pacing pushed the story to become ambiguous and in the end left me dissatisfied.      


Crimson Peak is about Edith Cushing, an aspiring American author who has become weary of her life and how people don’t respect her work. After a tragic death in her family, she is split between living with a lifelong friend whom she loves and an enigmatic businessman from Britain, whose promises of a better life captivates her interest. In an attempt to run from her past, she is taken far away from home to an estate that is skulking from the secrets of her new, eerie lover.


The cast of this film has enough star power to carry over, but with an uncharismatic performance from Mia Wasikowska’s as Edith Cushing, combined with the script; the film lost luster from stylistic choices of the actress and illogical choices made by the character herself that led to major plot holes.


For instance, there were many situations throughout the film where the audience was forced to listen to the rubbish logic that Edith persistently pushed in our faces. In the beginning of the film, there is a ghost that scares Edith when she is a child and forewarns her of how she should never go to a place called “Crimson Peak”.


A little later in the film when she’s much older, she decides she wants to be with Thomas Sharpe, the mysterious businessman played by Tom Hiddleston. The same ghost rushes at her in her room right after that decision. This should jog her memory of the warning of Crimson Peak when she was a kid. After that, she attempts and succeeds to find Sharpe and confesses her love. After the loss in her family, she then agrees to go with Sharpe back to England, and they take the long six-month journey from her hometown of Buffalo, NY to Crimson Peak.


During those six months, wouldn’t there be any mention of where exactly they are going to be staying? The name of the place is based around the red viscous clay that oozes out of the ground and makes the snow red during the winter. Wouldn’t that be at least some sort of a fun quirky conversation starter between those six months? Even past that, the director attempted to portray Edith as an intellect with her writing, so shouldn’t she be asking these sort of questions in the first place? This whole story could have been avoided if Edith wasn’t so ignorant of where she was headed.


Although the writing of this film has its flaws, the film’s director, Guillermo del Torro, has a career of adapting screenplays into beautifully crafted works that are easy to follow, beautiful to watch and have a good amount of story to keep you interested that would lead you to expect great things from this movie. This film is an original piece by the director, which is the first time he has released an original film since 2006 when he released Pan’s Labyrinth, a movie with major appraisal from reviewers such as Roger Ebert and Joe Morgenstern.


With a nine year break from releasing an original story, one might think he would have come out with a more in-depth, story-driven piece like his last original film, rather than a visually driven piece. Then again, his most recent screenplays, the Hobbit and Pacific Rim, have been very visual in their storytelling. Pan’s Labyrinth guided its audience along with a beautifully crafted setting; so this shouldn’t be a surprise.


Although the story was mostly driven by visual effects in the setting that left me unamused, the CGI-based ghost scenes kept me on the edge of my seat. From the opening scene, Edith could see ghosts, such as the one that gave her forewarning. The different colors and body movements of the ghosts foretold how the spiritual being died, and showed the anguish that the ghost had to withstand. This added an interesting storytelling device that foreshadowed how the spirits ended up residing at Crimson Peak.


In conjunction, the audio was mastered perfectly in these scenes to boil the audience’s blood with anticipation and gave the majority of suspense that this movie desperately needed. Especially during the encounters with the ghosts, the audio was able to convey a sense of danger and not knowing how this was going to end. The high standard of the few suspenseful scenes brought the rest of the film down. By missing that same suspenseful pull in the majority of scenes, the film felt like it was lackluster and missed out on the majority of emotional appeal.


Many times in the film, Edith went down to the basement of Crimson Peak in a loud mechanical elevator. She was told in the beginning she was not allowed to go down into the basement, but she went down there anyway to investigate. Although she went against the rules by going down there, the scenes where she went down missed the suspenseful appeal. The loud elevator should have given away her position to everyone in the house in the first place. As she broke the lock on a metal cover to a clay well, the loud clack of rock breaking metal would have ricocheted across the wide open caverns of the house. At least make the scenes suspenseful if the character is going past convention’s placed by the film, and not making an attempt to hide that same fact.


Although a nice attempt by the director to jump back into writing original pieces, the film doesn’t meet the standard of the director’s work and misses so many chances to be more suspense and dramatic. The film has an interesting gothic scenery that should pull audiences in for the Halloween season, but the show-goers would be more fulfilled if they watched a random horror film off of Netflix.