Halloween Countdown : Crimson Peak

Crimson Peak (Guillermo del Toro, 2015) is a mess of a film. A sumptuous looking mess, admittedly, but a mess nonetheless. It's a pity because it's a while since we've seen this type of old-fashioned Gothic horror melodrama, but despite the quality in front of and behind the camera, it ultimately fails to make us scare or care. Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) is a young American who is romanced by dashing, brooding Englishman Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), who promptly whisks her off to his gloomy (and frankly shit) mansion back in England. But Sharpe's frosty (and clearly deranged) sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain) is not best pleased about Edith moving into the family home. Sinister events ensue. WoooooOOOOooo!! There's a clear influence from classic melodramas Rebecca and Jane Eyre here, both in the story and in the handsomely mounted set design. But it lacks the classy restraint of those books/films, opting for CGI and lurid blood-soaked scenes which are rather overblown, verging on silly at times. There's no doubting del Toro's eye for a shot or his ability to translate onto the screen a wonderful shot from the one fashioned in his imagination, but then again some things are better left to the imagination.

A full list of films in the Halloween Countdown 2016 is here

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