Blu-Ray Review – Crimson Peak

Crimson Peak is a gothic romance, complete with ghosts and a haunted house, although it has been sold (misleadingly) as a horror film. Guillermo del Toro’s latest film begins in 1887, as Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), the daughter of a wealthy businessman, is visited by her mother’s ghost. The apparition tells her to beware of Crimson Peak. Now a budding author of ghost stories, she meets Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), a baronet who—unbeknownst to Edith until it’s too late—turns out to the owner of a house on… Crimson Peak.

Sharpe becomes smitten with Edith during a trip in search of investors. Her father is opposed to his invention proposal, but he becomes involved with Edith anyway. After Share abruptly ends the relationship, Edith’s father suddenly dies, opening the way for their relationship to resume. Sharpe takes his new bride to his house, which is on a red clay cliff, and her childhood friend Alan McMichael (Charlie Hunnam) turns up to voice his suspicions of her new husband. The relationship between Sharpe and his sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain) also seems a bit too close for comfort .

Both the director and some critics have compared it to his Spanish-language films, and stylistically that is certainly true. The opening scene comes straight from del Toro’s personal mythology bank, like the imagery in Pan’s Labyrinth. The plot maintains suspense, although viewers can guess where it might be going. The story is as full of twists and turns as the mansion itself, where things are certainly not as they appear to be. The director’s distinctive eye for design and detail is there throughout, but that is true even with del Toro’s big-budget films.

The cast do a fine job, with good performances from all—each of them has had a strong run of good work recently. It’s a rare breed of cinema which in this time of big budget trash that fills our multiplex it’s a breath of fresh air. The bonus features on this Blu-Ray include deleted scenes, and about an hour’s worth of featurettes on the making of the film.

★★★★½

Ian Schultz

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