Guillermo Del Toro, USA, 2015, 119 min.
Crimson Peak is old school big gothic to its core. It was advertised as a horror film, which isn’t really accurate, and that false-advertising probably caused some its box office issues. But that isn’t to say the film isn’t scary.
It definitely is, but more suspenseful than fear-inducing. Ghosts are a part of the film, that’s not spoiling anything, but they really could have been left out without changing the story. They were more window-dressing than anything else. Another tool for Guillermo Del Toro to use to set the mood.
He uses them too much at the beginning, especially the second time the ghost shows up, which didn’t work for me (jump scares, still?) But after that the film settles into its story and moves smoothly and briskly to its conclusion.
“Settles” isn’t a really the best term to describe it, because the film is big and bold and definitely doesn’t rest on its laurels. The set-design, costumes and atmosphere are amazing. The design of that house is a wonder to behold. Del Toro has always shined in that regard and this really is the perfect subject matter for him.
The story is solid, full of twists and turns and enough drama make good use of the set and the atmosphere. All the actors are game to emote theatrically and do it very well, adding to the overall effect.
But the real joy is being swept up in an old school story full of floating corpses, flowing dresses, iris transitions, and fantastic production values. This is the film that Guillermo Del Toro was born to make.