It might be too simplistic to call Crimson Peak style over substance, but I couldn’t quite embrace this gothic-romantic in spite of some incredible production designs and a couple fine performances by Hiddleston and Chastain.
Genre(s): Fantasy, Horror
Universal | R – 119 min. – $34.98 | February 9, 2016
Date Published: 02/04/2016 | Author: The Movieman
THE MOVIE – 3.25/5
** Note: This review contains a SPOILER concerning the plot. **
There’s no doubt that Guillermo del Toro is one of the most visual filmmakers working today but his movies, at least for me, never quite grabbed me, though something like Pan’s Labyrinth might be the exception. His latest is Crimson Peak was highly anticipated at least on the Interwebs and although it does start off well, any energy built up early on tapers off during the second half. However, there is still plenty to admire
Edith Cushing (MIA WASIKOWSKA) is an aspiring writer whose father, Carter (JIM BEAVER), is an influential man. When Thomas Sharpe (TOM HIDDLESTON) and his sister Lucille (JESSICA CHASTAIN) arrive in town from England to receive funding for a clay machinery Thomas has developed, after being passed over by others. He presents his case to a variety of wealthy investors including Carter, though he has no respect seeing Thomas as a ne’er-do-well with soft hands while Carter built the wealth from the ground up. Thomas does catch Edith’s eye and the pair begin a courtship much to her father’s displeasure and that of a possible suitor, eye Doctor Alan McMichael (CHARLIE HUNNAM).
When Carter hires a private investigator to look into the Sharpe’s, he uncovers some information so damning that they accept a payment and Thomas agrees to break things off with his daughter. However, soon after Carter is brutally murdered but it’s written off as accidental. Traumatized and grief-stricken, Edith agrees to marry Thomas and move with him and Lucille back to England to live at their palatial yet rundown estate located in the middle of nowhere. Soon enough, strange things begin to happen as Edith starts having horrific visions of ghastly ghosts while the behaviors of Thomas and Lucille become even more bizarre.
Outside of the visuals, the performances were half-decent, top-lined probably by Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain while Mia Wasikowska continues to underwhelm after her appearance in the atrocious Alice in Wonderland, though that was so awful, can’t place too much blame on her. Here, however, in spite of playing the leading role, I can’t say I was fully invested in her character, a character that started out interesting enough before somehow becoming a dim bulb. Back to Hiddleston and Chastain, the pair work very well and play up the creep factor but without going over-the-top on the level of being cartoony, although Chastain does straddle that line a time or two.
Crimson Peak, or as I like to call it “Gothic Flowers in the Attic” is typical Guillermo del Toro and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, admittedly I’ve never found his movies that enthralling mostly because folk lore or fantasy generally doesn’t interest me. That being said, he knows how to make a fantastic looking movie with incredible visuals and with Peak, it might lack substance, it at least still managed to capture my attention.
In the end, this is still probably worth a rental but don’t go in expecting anything astounding, just some nice little touches and moments that allows to be stay above average and a bit more memorable.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.0/5
This release comes with a semi-glossy slip cover and inside is the DVD Copy and a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.
Feature Commentary – Co-Writer/Director Guillermo del Toro sits down for an expansive track covering different topics, but especially the story.
Deleted Scenes (4:26; HD) – There are five scenes included here that are more character moments but wouldn’t have added that much to the story.
I Remember Crimson Peak (TRT 19:30; HD) is a collection of featurettes on the sets with interview footage by the cast and crew and some behind-the-scenes footage.
A Primer on Gothic Romance (5:36; HD) lays out the ideas behind of the gothic style and integrated into the story.
The Light and Dark of Crimson Peak (7:53; HD) examines the two parts of the movie, one taking place in America which is brighter while the second is in England and is far more bleak and basic.
Hand Tailored Gothic (8:58; HD) looks at the costume designs in the film.
A Living Thing (12:11; HD) is about giving the house a soul of its own and goes into the production design.
Beware of Crimson Peak (7:51; HD) is a guided tour of the house set by Tom Hiddleston before it is torn down.
Crimson Phantoms (7:02; HD) covers the various spiritual lost souls featured and how they were created.
VIDEO – 5.0/5
|Universal Studios Home Entertainment releases Crimson Peak onto Blu-ray presented with a 1080p high-definition transfer in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio. The transfer is just about pristine with excellent detail throughout and colors, albeit muted in some instances, shines through especially with the textures del Toro utilizes in the gothic-centric themes. There were no apparent signs of artifacts, aliasing or other flaws making for a fantastic looking picture.|
AUDIO – 5.0/5
|Not to be outdone, the disc comes with the new-ish DTS:X track which decodes to DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 for older systems. Unsurprisingly this lossless track sounds incredible from crisp and clear dialogue levels coming through the center channel while the front and rear channels are made used for ambient noises, for which there are plenty, and the haunting score.|
OVERALL – 3.75/5
|Overall, it might be too simplistic to call Crimson Peak style over substance, but I couldn’t quite embrace this gothic-romantic in spite of some incredible production designs and a couple fine performances by Hiddleston and Chastain. Guillermo del Toro isn’t one of my favorite directors out there but at least he hasn’t been boring and although Peak wasn’t great, it is well worth a rental to admire the cinematography. The Blu-ray released by Universal offers reference-quality video and audio transfers and a nice selection of bonus material.|
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.