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): Horror, Fantasy
Arrow Video | R – 119 min. – $22.97 | October 22, 2019
Date Published: 11/30/2019 | Author: The Movieman
Arrow Video provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.
THE MOVIE — 3.25/5
Note: This review does contain plot spoilers. It also was copied over from my Universal Blu-ray review published in 2016.
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 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 – 5.0/5
Being this is a standard release from Arrow, no slip cover or booklet.
Feature Commentary – Co-Writer/Director Guillermo del Toro sits down for an expansive track covering different topics, but especially the story.
The House is Alive: Constructing Crimson Peak (50:01) is a newly edited documentary containing interviews with the cast and crew, including Guillermo del Toro, along with behind-the-scenes footage.
An Interview with Guillermo del Toro (8:36) — This is a Spanish language interview with the director.
Allerdale Hall (TRT 19:34) consists of four featurettes:
A Primer on Gothic Romance (5:36) lays out the ideas behind of the gothic style and integrated into the story.
The Light and Dark of Crimson Peak (7:53) 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) looks at the costume designs in the film.
A Living Thing (12:11) is about giving the house a soul of its own and goes into the production design.
Beware of Crimson Peak (7:51) is a guided tour of the house set by Tom Hiddleston before it is torn down.
Crimson Phantoms (7:02) covers the various spiritual lost souls featured and how they were created.
Kim Newman on Crimson Peak and the Tradition of Gothic Romance (17:37) — This is a newly filmed interview with the author and critic.
Violence and Beauty in Guillermo del Toro’s Gothic Fairy Tale Films (23:37) — A new video essay by Kat Ellinger.
Deleted Scenes (4:26) – There are five scenes included here that are more character moments but wouldn’t have added that much to the story.
Also included on this disc is the International Trailer, Theatrical Trailer, TV Spots and an Image Gallery of Production Stills and Behind the Scenes.
VIDEO – 5.0/5
|Arrow Video releases Crimson Peak, likely using the same transfer as the Universal release, 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 a DTS:X track. 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 – 4.25/5
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.