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Crimson Peak

  • Film
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
Crimson Peak
Photograph: Universal Pictures

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Guillermo del Toro's latest is a fun but predictable Gothic ghost story starring Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska

Mexican director Guillermo del Toro has built a reputation on his imagination: films like ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ and ‘Hellboy II’ are crammed with eyeless demons and flesh-eating fairies, tangling fantasy and horror in intoxicating fashion. So it’s a surprise – and a shame – to report that his new film ‘Crimson Peak’, while often entertaining, feels like a mish-mash of overfamiliar elements, falling way short in the wild, weird, what-the-fuck-was-that department.

Mia Wasikowska plays Edith Cushing (yes, we see what you did there, Guillermo), an independent young writer in turn-of-the-century New England who allows herself to be wooed and won by Tom Hiddleston’s dashing but down-at-heel English aristocrat Thomas Sharpe. Returning with him to his crumbling Lakeland mansion, Edith must face not only Sharpe’s grasping, possibly incestuous sister (Jessica Chastain) but also a lurking supernatural presence.

The elements are in place for an old-school gothic shocker in the finest Hammer tradition – but ‘Crimson Peak’ feels more like something Tim Burton might cook up, and not in a good way. Del Toro wraps his intricate sets in a super-saturated CGI sheen: what should’ve been grimy and solid feels slippery and not-quite-there. It doesn’t help that the Canadian locations feel absolutely nothing like Cumbria – the local post office looks like a Wild West staging post. All three actors work hard – Hiddleston and Chastain’s sibling relationship is deliciously grotesque – and when the melodrama hits fever pitch, 'Crimson Peak' lurches into life. But overall this lacks weight and intensity: a Brontë-esque bauble smeared in twenty-first-century slickness.

Tom Huddleston
Written by
Tom Huddleston

Release Details

  • Release date:Friday 16 October 2015
  • Duration:119 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Guillermo del Toro
  • Screenwriter:Guillermo del Toro, Matthew Robbins
  • Cast:
    • Charlie Hunnam
    • Tom Hiddleston
    • Jessica Chastain
    • Mia Wasikowska
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