Crimson Peak is a very effective gothic horror movie on the first watch and a very effective gothic romance on a rewatch. It is beautiful and fanciful and I love it. It made me want to write gothic horror. Historical accuracy is thin on the ground if that bothers you, but I was just fine with it. I mean, it’s directed by Guillermo del Toro. There has never been, and I’m not sure if there ever will be, a movie of his that I will not go see.
First things first, though, Crimson Peak is the story of Edith Cushing, an American writer with a wealthy father and no other living relatives. She meets soulful and inventive Thomas Sharpe, baronet, and his sister. After her father’s unexpected death, Edith and Thomas marry and head to England to the Sharpe’s home, Allerdale Hall, also known as Crimson Peak for the red clay that is essentially destroying everything in sight but is also the only source of money the two siblings have. And, frankly, this is another one of those movies that I can’t be objective about. Yeah, it probably has some flaws and if you point them out, I may agree with you that they are indeed flaws, but I’m unlikely to feel like they lessen the movie in my eyes.
This also is a prime example of that core artist thing I was talking about with Ouija. All the elements of Gothic Horror are there; dilapidated house, sexual deviance, ghosts, all the blood. And, yet… And yet this is very distinctly a Guillermo del Toro movie. Even if you’ve ever only seen something like Pacific Rim, Hellboy or Mimic, this is still recognizable as made by the same guy. And I don’t understand how he does it. It’s just there. There’s a very distinct point of view in this film, despite the fact that unlike something like Get Out it’s not exactly stuff that hasn’t been done before. Del Toro is on every second of this film, despite the brilliant performances every one of these great actors, Jessica Chastain especially, gives. It is my heart. But more importantly, I think, it’s Guillermo del Toro’s heart. Cut up and offered for the viewer – this time – in the form of a Gothic Horror movie.