Ever since the very first teaser picture of Crimson Peak, I’ve been chomping at the bit to go see this movie. Finally, accompanied by two good friends (one of them being Rebecca Sky, my fellow Steampunkette) I got the chance.
First off, let me say that the visuals are stunning. The pictures they advertised with, the eerie red on black and the tattered, ghost-like moths and blood spatters, pretty much let you know exactly what to expect. The way they did the ghosts was exceptional. They’re almost 3D in some strange way (no, I didn’t see it in 3D and forget) perhaps because of the way they seem to be drifting away a bit at a time, how a kind of crimson mist drifts and curls out of them at all times. It’s a new take on ghost graphics, and I found it refreshingly disgusting.
There are a few especially horrifying ghosts who have pieces of their faces missing and such, so faint of heart need not apply.
The costuming is brilliant. I especially enjoyed the scene that was part foreshadowing, part fashion statement, where the sister, Lucille, is wearing a black lace hat shaped like a ghostly face. There is not nearly enough internet chatter about the face hat? WHY NO FACE HAT? Also, where can I get one of these?
The plotline was interesting for me, up to a point. I was intrigued by the fact that the main character, Edith, is a writer. She talks about Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein) and Jane Austen, and is working on her own gothic story. Part of me wonders if “Edith” is any tribute to Edith Wharton (House of Mirth, GHASTLY book). In any case, there’s a number of interesting references to life as a writer. She is dismayed to have a publisher tell her that her manuscript “needs a love story”, and at one point tells her father (played by Bobby from Supernatural, btw) that she needs to type out her manuscripts because her writing is “too feminine”.
SPOILERS AHEAD: The part that lost me a bit was the brother/sister relationship. In a way, I think they did it pretty well. There was enough foreshadowing that I guessed what was going on, (incest plotline is a gothic staple) but from the sounds of it, much of the audience did not. There were more than a few disgusted gasps from around us. Though there had to be some foreshadowing to make it click (instead of just coming out of nowhere) I was disappointed that I saw it coming.
There was a few great little details that thrilled and disgusted me, the locks of hair from the missing women, the imagery of the poison tea (beautiful tea cups, by the way) and the way the red clay stained everything was both beautifully eerie and symbolic. But I was almost hoping for a little more, maybe that the siblings knew the house was haunted (I thought they did at first and were recruiting Edith for something like a sacrifice). The “after her money” thing is old hat for me.
I also wasn’t sure why a brother/sister murder team would keep a trunk full of evidence in the basement. Even if it is locked, it just seems like a bad idea.
All in all though, it was thoroughly enjoyable and I will be seeing it in theaters at least once more, as well as encouraging anyone within earshot to go see it. Most of all, I want to see MORE of these Victoria gothic movies, and if Crimson Peak doesn’t do well, we’re telling Hollywood we don’t care to see more.
I WANT MORE!