Country: USA / Canada
Movie Review: The specialty of the Mexican filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro (“Hellboy” and “Pan’s Labyrinth”) is to interweave fantasy and horror. His latest, “Crimson Peak”, proves his effortlessness in both genres and also adds a strong dramatic component to a plot that, despite some regular clichés, manages to solidly hold our attention. Actually, Peak is the most successful collaboration between Del Toro, who also co-writes and co-produces, and the screenwriter Matthew Robbins, after “Mimic” and “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”. Beginning in 1887, the tale focuses on Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), an unconventional independent American writer who is often visited by the ghost of her mother. So, ghosts are a reality and play an important part in her novels, even if metaphorically. When Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), an English aristocrat who comes to the US with the intuit of finding a wealthy investor to his unappealing invention, is declined by Edith’s father, Carter, he turns his eyes into the eager-for-love Edith, who falls for him in a blink of an eye, despite the warnings of her father and also of her childhood friend, Dr. Alan McMichael. Carter makes some arrangements to free his daughter and get rid of Thomas, who is constantly followed by his abhorrently jealous sister, Lucille (Jessica Chastain), but ends up violently murdered by a sinister figure, leaving Edith even more vulnerable on the matters of the heart. She resolutely agrees to depart for London, to live with Thomas and his diabolically manipulative sister at Allerdale Hall, a once resplendent, isolated old mansion that hides evil secrets, dark energies, and gruesome occult presences. Del Toro works together with the Danish cinematographer, Dan Laustsen, to carefully compose the dense visuals, enhanced by the period costume design and embracing the dismal atmosphere extracted from the place. You can imagine how difficult is to create a horror film nowadays without falling in the same stratagems used over and over again. Thus, during these last two years, only a couple of them could impress me, cases of “Conjuring” and “It Follows”. “Crimson Peak” lacks truly creepy moments and is definitely not on the same level of the cited films, but what’s curious is that I was never bored and the film gallops in an ominous crescendo towards its agitating finale. Jessica Chastain, here in a delightfully evil form, shares a great responsibility in this achievement.