Crimson Peak – USA, 2015 – reviews

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‘Beware’

Crimson Peak is a 2015 American horror feature film directed by Guillermo del Toro (Cronos; Hellboy and sequels; Pan’s LabyrinthPacific Rim) from a screenplay by del Toro, Matthew Robbins and Lucinda Coxon. It was produced by Legendary Pictures and distributed by Universal Pictures.

The film stars Mia Wasikowska (Stoker), Tom Hiddleston (Only Lovers Left Alive; High-RiseKong: Skull Island), Charlie Hunnam, and Jessica Chastain (Dark Shadows).

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Del Toro has said this film is a “ghost story and gothic romance”. He described it as “a very set-oriented, classical but at the same time modern take on the ghost story”, and said that it would allow him to play with the genre’s conventions while subverting their rules. He stated, “I think people are getting used to horror subjects done as found footage or B-value budgets. I wanted this to feel like a throwback.”

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Set in Cumbria, in a crumbling mansion in a largely rural and mountainous region of northern England in the 19th century, young author Edith Cushing (Wasikowska) discovers that her charming new husband Sir Thomas Sharpe (Hiddleston) is not who he appears to be…

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Crimson Peak is presented here in sumptuous special packaging, with a wealth of extra features, affording unprecedented insight in to the making of this modern Gothic romantic classic.

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original 5.1 and 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and optional English 2.0 DTS Headphone:X Audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Optional Descriptive Video Service® (DVS®) for the visually impaired
  • Audio commentary by co-writer and director Guillermo Del Toro
  • The House is Alive: Constructing Crimson Peak, a newly edited, feature-length documentary with cast and crew interviews and extensive behind the scenes footage
  • Previously unseen Spanish language interview with Guillermo Del Toro
  • The Gothic Corridor, The Scullery, The Red Clay Mines, The Limbo Fog Set; four featurettes exploring different aspects of Allerdale Hall
  • A Primer on Gothic Romance, the director and stars talk about the key traits of Gothic romance
  • The Light and Dark of Crimson Peak, the cast and crew talk about the film s use of color
  • Hand Tailored Gothic, a featurette on the film s striking costumes
  • A Living Thing, a look at the design, modelling and construction of the Allerdale Hall sets
  • Beware of Crimson Peak, a walking tour around Allerdale Hall with Tom Hiddleston
  • Crimson Phantoms, a featurette on the film s amazing ghosts
  • Kim Newman on Crimson Peak and the Tradition of Gothic Romance, a newly filmed interview with author and critic
  • Violence and Beauty in Guillermo Del Toro’s Gothic Fairy Tale Films, a new video essay by Kat Ellinger
  • Deleted scenes
  • Original trailers and TV spots
  • Double-sided, fold-out poster
  • Six double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproductions
  • Limited Edition packaging newly designed by Crimson Peak concept artist Guy Davis
  • Limited edition 80-page, hard-bound book featuring new writing by David Jenkins and Simon Abrams, an archival interview with Guillermo del Toro, and original conceptual design illustrations by artists Guy Davis and Oscar Chichoni

Reviews [click links to read more]:

For audiences unafraid of a bit of ultraviolence mixed in with heightened romance, all wrapped up in a puzzlebox of exquisite design, they’re in for a treat. For those bestowed with patience to let the film unfold, and are unfazed at needing to do a bit of work to truly understand the deep references and connections that del Toro is making with the work (i.e., see Rebecca again!), they’re in for one of the most unique and rewarding films of the year.” Jason Gorber, Twitch

“Guillermo del Toro’s gothic fantasy-romance Crimson Peak is outrageously sumptuous, gruesomely violent and designed to within an inch of its life. Every shot is an intricate, curlicued marvel of detail: there are images which glow from behind like stained glass.” Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“When the scares do arrive, however, they’re effectively unsettling. Only once or twice does the film indulge in cheesy jump effects, where the audience flinches because of a sudden LOUD noise. Instead, you can feel the director savoring the anticipation and then resolving it skillfully and grandly. The result is del Toro’s best film since Pan’s Labyrinth, one that should rightly become a staple for many Halloweens to come.” Alonso Duraide, The Wrap

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” … as del Toro does too often, here he takes what could be a winning homage to a genre he loves and smothers it in sensational, empty style. Crimson Peak features a few killer scenes—my favorite involving a shovel; you’ll know it when you see it—and, in its beginnings, successfully conjures up a sense of wispy ghost-movie dread. But before too long, it sadly proves as insubstantial as any common phantasm.” Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair

” … this movie becomes as much of a single-location haunted house movie as any Blumhouse Production, albeit one with frankly less emotionally compelling undercurrents and character turns than the likes of Oculus or Insidious. Yes, the house looks great and yes the third act offers some splendid moments of operatic cinema … but the core story is weak, and our investment lies in looking past some obvious deficiencies.” Scott Mendelson, Forbes

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Aflame with color and awash in symbolism, this undeniably ravishing yet ultimately disappointing haunted-house meller is all surface and no substance, sinking under the weight of its own self-importance into the sanguine muck below … Crimson Peak proves too frou-frou for genre fans, too gory for the Harlequin crowd and all-around too obvious for anyone pressed to guess what the siblings’ dark secret could possibly be…” Peter Debruge, Variety

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“Featuring memorable performances, amazing production design, and a hard edge that is too often lacking in horror films these days, it nonetheless also manages to subvert some long-standing tropes about the Gothic romance genre which inspired it.” Scott Collura, IGN

“The movie’s high style and use of color harkens back to old-school Maria Bava movies and Hammer flicks, while an expert cast — including Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain — play out the macabre storyline in a way that would make Edgar Allan Poe positively beam.” Sam Adams, Rolling Stone

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“Its sombre sincerity and hypnotic, treasure-box beauty make Crimson Peak feel like a film out of time – but Del Toro, his cast and his crew carry it off without a single postmodern prod or smirk. The film wears its heart on its sleeve, along with its soul and most of its intestines.” Robbie Collin, The Telegraph

” … Crimson Peak feels like a 1946 film made seven decades later; the conventions are all carried over intact from an earlier time, so that only the technical aspects and gore level identify it as a product of its own era. This is not necessarily a bad thing at all, except that the conventions the film trades in seem so dusty and time-worn that they cry out for revision and/or reconsideration.” Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

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” Beyond its surface pleasures, Crimson Peak also confronts the demons of modern entertainment. The movie frightens and surprises us in familiar ways, but at the same time issues a plea for restraint.” Eric Kohn, indieWIRE

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“The combination of gothic ghost story and harlequin romance doesn’t break new ground for either genre, but the intensity of Brandt Gordon’s art direction and Kate Hawley’s costume design reinforce the innate connection that period romance and horror share in how these genres so purely express their most profound ideas through ornate style.” Jake Cole, Slant

Cast and characters:

  • Mia Wasikowska as Edith Cushing
  • Sofia Wells as Young Edith
  • Tom Hiddleston as Sir Thomas Sharpe
  • Charlie Hunnam as Dr. Alan McMichael
  • Jessica Chastain as Lady Lucille Sharpe
  • Jim Beaver as Carter Cushing
  • Emily Coutts as Eunice McMichael
  • Matia Jackett as Young Eunice
  • Leslie Hope as Mrs. McMichael
  • Burn Gorman as Holly
  • Doug Jones
  • Javier BotetFreehold; Devil’s Gate; The Boy; et al

Release and box office:

Crimson Peak was released worldwide on October 16, 2015. It took a disappointing $74,679,822 globally against a reported budget of $55 million.

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