Fright Nights: CRIMSON PEAK Review

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Sonny Howes finds out if ghosts are real...

I love gothic horror. The sets, the clothes, the directing; everything about it is just fascinating to me. So when I heard that a brand new gothic horror movie called ‘Crimson Peak’ was coming out, I began counting down the days until I could see it. Well when opening night finally came around (Friday 16th) me and my friend bought tickets to what very quickly turned into my favourite film of the year.

Crimson Peak, directed by the amazing Guillermo Del Toro and co written by Del Toro and Mathew Robbins, is a very special piece of film. First off, it’s a ghost story, not a horror. Secondly, it’s not even a ghost story, it’s a story with ghosts. This may seem very odd, compared to how the film is being marketed but surprisingly it works. This of course plays a big part to Del Toro’s amazing ability to capture colour and emotion on screen just by the characters surroundings (more on that later.)

Staring Mia Wasikowska as Edith, a young writer who gets whisked off her feet by the dark, tall but eerie Thomas Sharpe (played by Tom Hiddleston). Soon she’s taken to his incredibly creepy horror mansion that he lives in with his sister Lucille (played by the wonderful Jessica Chastain). That’s all I can really say about the plot without spoiling it, as this film is riddled with clues and hints that would completely ruin the film if you knew beforehand. What I can say though, is that all the actors and actresses have amazing chemistry on screen, and all of them fit into their roles with ease. The casting is perfect and so is the acting. I can not fault any of them for a bad performance as there wasn’t one. It all worked.

But for me, what really made the film (if not its disturbing scenes or gritty story) is that every scene is visually stunning. A dark, gothic film isn’t something you expect to be so beautiful, but Crimson Peak is. The colours seem so vibrant and real, but yet so dark and morbid, that it feels to the viewer that you are wrapped inside this very messed up world, but you don’t want to leave, because if you did, you’d never see something this stunning again. This goes for the clothes too, even though many of them a black or very dark blue (Jessica Chastain’s dresses are incredibly gothic,) they somehow seems so alive and beautiful. Del Toro really is the master of dark and horror because he knows how it works. Not everything has to be a slasher, it doesn’t even need to be gory. It just needs to be disturbing and somehow he manages this, while still creating a visually stunning film.

And this film is disturbing. I wouldn’t say it’s scary, though to some it maybe, but the fact it’s more creepy and uneasy actually impacts the film so much more than if it was absolutely terrifying. This again is not saying it’s not violent, because some of the scenes are incredibly so. From having your head smashed in or an axe through the scalp, this film does not completely discard gruesome moments, but because of Del Toro’s wonderful directing, and the brilliant writing, it never overkill's it like some horror movies of today do. This has a Hitchcock feel. It knows when gore is needed and they never use it just for the sake of it.

Crimson Peak is stunning. From visuals, to Jessica Chastain stealing the show (no joke, she’s bloody amazing. From the first moment she’s on screen she has this dark presence,) everything about this film is wonderful. I have a love and hate relationship with horror, just because how cheap and tacky, while riddled with clich├ęs it can be; but Crimson Peak has made me love the genre again, even if it’s not completely a horror. Gothic Romance is a better term to use, but that could put many people off of seeing it. Lets say, it’s a gothic romance, but with a disturbing story and imagery, and gruesomely violent scenes, because this film is anything but romantic.

Sonny wants to be an actor and has a massive interest in TV and film. If he's not watching Mad Men, he's working on his brand new script for his short film.

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