starring Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam and Jim Beaver
written by Guillermo Del Toro and Matthew Robbins
directed by Guillermo Del Toro
Crimson Peak was creepy. I liked it. Less “horror” than “gothic,” it starts in Buffalo, New York in 1887 when a bankrupt English Lord arrives seeking money for a clay-excavating plan he has for his estate back in England. Sir Thomas Sharpe (Ton Hiddleston) has been turned away by banks all over Europe and now, for some reason, he’s in Buffalo, NY with his sister, Lucille (Jessica Chastain). Oh, well. The American side of this story rests with the Cushing family. Father Carter Cushing (Jim Beaver) and daughter Edith (Mia Wasikowska). The film opens with a flashback to Edith’s childhood when her mother died of a cholera epidemic. The young girl is visited by her mother’s awful-looking ghost, warning her to “Beware crimson peak.” The meaning is a mystery until later in the film. After a point I could guess the plot. Sir Thomas marries Edith and they return to England. The family home is a dilapidated mansion unfit for human habitation, looking like a haunted house from a Hollywood movie. Well, that’s what it is. The house sits on a hill of clay that Sir Thomas is intend on mining for revenue. We eventually learn that the clay’s red color bleeds through winter surface snow giving the hill a bloody look - what the locals call “Crimson Peak.” Aha!
As the new Lady of the Manor, Edith discovers ghosts haunting the place. Who are they? It turns out that Thomas and Lucille are hiding some terrible secrets. Murder, incest, insanity.
The dramatization of late 19-century life was interesting - the costumes, the language, the technology. Interesting.