Thanks to Universal Pictures Australia we had the chance to see Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak prior to its Australian cinematic release. This is our review of the film, but – as usual – no matter what we say, we recommend that you still go to your local cinema and see the film because there is no better critic than yourself.

Crimson-Peak-0Crimson Peak follows Edith Cushing (Australia’s Mia Wasikowska), who from a young age, and after the death of her mother is visited by a ghost who warns her to “beware of Crimson Peak.”

Years pass, and now a grown-up Edith who is grieving the tragic death of her beloved father, is set to marry an enigmatic inventor, Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), something her father would have never approved of, as he wanted her to marry Dr. Alan McMichael (Charlie Hunnam).

In order to leave everything behind, Edith decides to move far from her home to live with her new husband and her weird sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain) in a very dilapidated mansion; and this decision will soon uncover a twisted truth involving ghosts, crimes of passion and betrayal.

Crimson-Peak-1Every time Guillermo del Toro produces or directs a film, expectations are raised, as the popular director’s approach to films, from Chronos, Hell Boy, Pan’s Labyrinth to the impressive – and the very underrated by critics (and wannabe critics) Pacific Rim. Such releases have demonstrated his unique style, with a gentle use of practical props and costumes, and the perfect quota of CGI in order to avoid oversaturated scenes, while telling or re-telling stories with new, unique rules, sometimes even breaking with universal theatrical conventions.

Crimson Peak is a mix of things, and, sadly for all the viewers expecting another “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” or “Mama”, disappointment is guaranteed. Moreover, the trailers for the film are the movie’s biggest enemies, as they try to sell the film as a ghost story, when ghost are not even the secondary characters; and, and despite del Toro’s best efforts to deliver some scares, the formula fails. The paranormal factor is sadly used as a selling point that is ultimately underdeveloped, as the entire story centers on the siblings and Edith.

Crimson-Peak-2The cast, on the other hand, is fantastic. The three leads deliver some great moments, with Wasikowska showing a vulnerability that allows viewers to relate to her, while Tom Hiddleston locks Loki in the wardrobe in order to show the world that he can also plays a darker, yet charming lead, alongside the true star of the movie, Jessica Chastain, whose performance is impeccable and twisted.

Crimson Peak had such potential to be one of the year’s best. However, the confusing marketing campaign incorrectly promoting the film as a terrifying ghost movie tested the patience of many viewers. The story develops slowly, with small paranormal segments that will increase viewers’ anxiety and frustration. However, despite the previously mentioned flaws, Crimson Peak is refreshing and ambitious, a kind of forbidden love Romeo & Juliet tale, that emerges within del Toro’s universe, with beautiful scenarios, costumes and an impressive cast that is worth watching.

Crimson Peak is now showing in Australian cinemas

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