Crimson Peak

Max Bowman, Writer

I really wanted to like this movie. It featured one of my favorite directors (Guillermo del Toro) and I had been desperately craving a horror film in a horror-less October. But even when the opening scene had me sighing and would have made me turn of the T.V. if I were at home, I still held hope. Even after the pointless 30 minute opening of the characters simply dawdling, I persevered and thought that maybe, just maybe, their would be a light at the end of the tunnel. Even when I guessed the entire plot in the first 15 minutes – no, when I saw the trailers, I still kept hoping for the film to surprise me. It did none of these things. I hated this movie. I hated it, hated it, hated it!

“It’s not a ghost story, but instead a story with ghosts in it” quotes the main character played by the always dull Mia Wasikowska. Paralleling her story with the films, we already know that the ghosts in hellish landscape we were promised were but a lie. I have no idea why ghosts were included in the film at all except to make it more marketable or add a false sense of tension. The ghosts serve no threat nor do they serve a plot point. Their inclusion is utterly pointless, which in my opinion, parallels this movie as a whole.

The actors themselves are fine, but they contribute nothing to enhance the film. Mia gives off a performance reminiscent of a sedated Keanu Reeves and has a knack for making my eyelids droop. Jessica Chastain unfortunately takes the opposite path and plays a role that’s so psychotic and hammy, that when compared to all the tame and dull characters it produces a jarring effect, especially considering her acting isn’t even that good. The movie does get a couple of points, however  for Tom Hiddleston’s performance. While not great, It definitely shows talent portraying his character through subtle motions and expressions.

Another one of the major selling points, the grandiose set design, also managed to fail miserably. That picture perfect greatness is always somewhat in view but it seems the camera can just never focus on it. The hall is great, but we never get to see it in all its glory. Guillermo never manages to focus on one set piece and instead we get a couple of hectic glimpses of what could have been a beautiful setting. What makes it unbearable is the fact that you can see, the talent, yet the camera never seems to let you take it in and instead have to settle for brief hectic glimpses. It has many ideas but never seems to utilize them, such as the walls oozing clay or the snow turning blood is used for perhaps one shot poorly before abandoning it altogether making you wish he settled on one focused idea instead of a bunch of underdeveloped ones.

The film tries to tackle many different genres and drops the ball at every single one. The romance is half baked and dumb. When the main character discovers the film’s twist  the romance is still maintained  making the film unbelievable and downright creepy. The films mystery in fact, turns out to be the crux of the film. It is so easy to predict that entire sections of the film where tension and intrigue that are supposed to be fueled by the mystery of what’s going on lose their purpose and instead feel meandering and boring. The last, and definitely least, is the horror aspect which merely consists of pointless jumpscares caused by pointless ghosts.

It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a film that’s made me this angry. It manages to commit the most horrible sin of entertainment which is that its just plain boring. You can’t scare a bored audience and a bored audience can’t get invested in dull characters. Stay away from this film as if it were Crimson Peak itself.