Crimson Peak review by Adrijan Arsovski - Cinema Paradiso
Crimson Peak is utterly predictable, childishly simple, even dull at times, ping-ponging between several genres (of which horror the least) and failing to settle in neither. Its redeeming qualities lay in the meticulously crafted sets, beautiful costumes and great use of a color palette, but even those cannot stop it from being clunky, rancid – and especially toward the end – a surprisingly laughable piece.
Guillermo del Toro’s 9-th film feature starts with a strong premise, convincible characters and well-established rules. This doesn’t last long however, and one sees the main character dropping the consistency ball as others follow – from here onward it’s all a ride downhill devoid of any cathartic bliss supposed horror films ought to provide. As if this wasn’t bad enough – the actors’ efforts go inversely proportional over the provided narrative progress – with the culmination playing as if the filmmakers ran out of budget exactly there on the spot (digitally enhanced ghosts are expensive).
Somewhere previously Mia Wasikowska’s monotone reciting remarks that ‘ghosts are metaphors for things’, and presumably the audience would understand that, but still: why then also include them physically in the movie? It’s conflicting, confusing and doesn’t lead anywhere; the ghost apparitions on the other hand are as pointless as a comb to a bold man, or as poorly written ghosts in a cheap script.
Then comes the marketing, and since it’s somewhat related to a movie, one cannot disregard it: can we just stop wrongly market movies? It’s of benefit to no one, it’s cheap, unfunny, and it’s called cheating the potential customers.
The acting ensemble acts sub-par, period, with Tom Hiddleston barely standing out from the group. Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska and the rest are unconvincing, and act as if they were main stars in a lead soap opera spell. The directing is fine, with some dubious decisions, such as painting the ‘good guys’ light VS the ‘bad ones’ in darker tones.
The weakest link is the story: it’s actually abysmal when I come to think of it. There are characters popping in and out of existence, coming back, going away and doing nothing of importance in the overall picture. Never mind ghosts: one witnesses steam machines, random motivations, butterflies, rings, a dog, a board room meeting and a waltz just for the sake of it. At one point our protagonette cites Merry Shelley’s stoic stance against men, only to succumb to a certain Hiddleston she just met five minutes later. And it’s no mystery either: in order to be a mystery it has to hide a crucial something. Crimson Peak just lacks information while being predictable, is all.
Finally, the final scene plays as, beg my pardon – showdown at Crimson Creek, with Jessica Chastain failing to realize to never bring a cleaver to a shovel fight. There is no character progression, no conclusion, no satisfaction and no nothing. Watching Crimson Peak feels like stabbing one’s toe in the dark on a furniture piece, and going straight to bed without tending to its wounds.
It will hurt all night long, and maybe a bit at sunrise.