Guillermo Del Toro, an incredibly diverse film-maker and a fantastic Gothic Horror director returns with Crimson Peak. It is a love story that incorporates many old school horror tones, but ultimately is more of a Gothic Romance with some horror elements as oppose to being strictly Gothic Horror. It is definitely of the most beautifully stylised horror films of recent years and it is evident that was a focus of Del Toro, through its emphasis in this film and his previous works. If you are going in to this film expecting constant scares as the trailer led you to believe then you will be pretty disappointed. The film definitely focuses mostly on the character relationships and incorporates horror elements here and there but other than a select few moments the movie isn’t really ‘scary’ it is mainly creepy and spooky.
There is no doubt though that visually the film is very well presented, and it has Del Toro’s distinct visual style all over it. There are many beautiful shots of the scenery and detail of the house and uses small hints of bright colour to make each shot a little more interesting. The elements of gothic architecture and decoration add to create an overall creepy atmosphere. The film does have some creepy imagery but it was mainly held together with an old school creepy mysterious tone that lasted for most of the film and proved to be more successful than jump-scares that ruin any tension in horror films. There are very few actually scary moments, the majority of the creepy imagery ranges from being spooky to creepy and did leave me wanting just a little more horror in this very character focused film.
As i mentioned, the film is skewed in favour of character development and character relationships and it does take up quite a bit of the film but it still managed to blend in well with the creepy tones. This focus on the characters gave you a sense of connection between the horror elements and the characters and provided some context here and there that tied the two together nicely. I must say though that the characters are very well introduced and developed so they all have a distinct personality that comes through very well through the writing and the performances. All of the main performances i thought were very strong with Tom Hiddleston being the standout performance using his experience to give his character more personality. Mia Wasikowska could have played a typical horror film victim but her character i thought was stronger and more driven than many other female horror leads, allowing you to really get behind her.
The overall plot of the film was still mysterious and did somewhat have me interested to see which direction it was heading in. But i have to say it was quite predictable in terms of some of the larger revelations later on in the film. It drops a lot of hints here and there as to what the bigger picture is but it was pretty obvious where the film was going. I wasn’t 100% sure i knew what was going on but what i thought was happening around half way into the film ended up being right. So the scenes later on where they are throwing exposition at you trying to explain the things that are going on didn’t have the impact they were supposed to, you could probably figure it out on your own.
So in the end, this film will definitely turn off anyone wanting loads of jump-scares and a very horror focused film. But the Gothic Romance focus with the creepy tones and imagery i thought were a really good mix and with Del Toro’s style accompanying it, it did make for a very well done stylised ‘horror’ film. I just wish that there was a little more of the scary as oppose to some of the more spooky stuff but what it did have was still enough to make this a Gothic Romance/Horror film worth watching.