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Crimson Peak

(2015, Del Toro)
A film from Guillermo del Toro

"The things we do for love like this are ugly, mad, full of sweat and regret. This love burns you and maims you and twists you inside out. It is a monstrous love and it makes monsters of us all."

Set in the early 20th Century, Crimson Peak follows Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), the daughter of an important businessman and an aspiring writer herself. When an aristocrat called Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) and her sister (Jessica Chastain) come looking for funding for a digging machine, Edith finds herself drawn to their mysterious lives and eventually, their apparently haunted home (the titular Crimson Peak).

For some reason, this is a film that seems to be very polarizing. When I asked about it on Twitter, I got everything from it being a "glorious excessive love letter to Bava and Hammer" and "a feast for the eyes" to it being "a lot of wasted potential" and an "overhyped over-CGIed mess". I happen to lean more towards the former.

From the get go, I found myself engaged in the plot, thanks mostly to the performances from Wasikowska and Hiddleston. I thought there was a very good balance of intrigue and romance, with a surprising sprinkle of violence at one point. I was also surprised to see Charlie Hunnam, who I usually find cringey, deliver a fairly competent performance.

In the second half, the film shifts from location and also a bit of focus, with Chastain taking a more prominent role, in which she also delivers. It is also in this half that the incredible production values are more evident. The set design, lighting, and whole production values behind the Crimson Peak house are impressive. I agree that there were some moments where the CGI was a tad spotty, but it didn't really take me out of the film.

Overall, I found Crimson Peak to be thoroughly entertained, well acted, and nicely paced, with some impressive production values. I think the "ghost" angle of it could've been executed a bit better, but I still thought it was extremely enjoyable.