CRIMSON PEAK (2015)

crimson_peak_mia_wasikowska-wide

Christopher

We ended up seeing this movie because it’s a new Guillermo Del Toro movie but also because the new music video for Joanna Newsom’s “Divers” played in front of it at the Alamo Drafthouse. It was very unclear what movies the video would play before but after Elizabeth worked her detective magic, talking to both Alamo, who never seemed to indicate that they even knew Joanna Newsom was a person, and with Drag City, who seemed surprised what little knowledge the theaters had on the event, we did it and the video was worth it! However, I do wish they played it with the trailers so the theater would be dark and the people quiet rather than the preshow where people are talking but it was worth everything to see it on the big screen. Okay, now Crimson Peak.

I was excited for this movie but I was a little nervous that the story wouldn’t be as interesting as I had hoped. Unfortunately I was completely right. The movie looked very nice and the CG was not as distracting as I had originally thought. The issue was all in the story. It was so bland and boring. There was never really anything I felt like we found out. Everything was very predictable. To a point where I thought we were supposed to know everything the whole time.

There were many interesting themes and ideas but everything fell very flat. It felt like we were watching a collage of old movies where they just barely make a story pieced together. I was into some stuff and I can see this movie getting a lot of praise for its camerawork and costume design, but I think the pleasures of this film end there.

Hopefully his next movie has more layers to it!

Elizabeth (spoilers!)

We saw a trailer for Crimson Peak when we saw Sicario and I was sort of surprised at my own desire to want to see it. I usually don’t think twice about haunted house movies, but with it being Guillermo del Toro and having a strong cast, I was just sort of drawn to it. And then came the announcement that a new Joanna Newsom video would be premiering at the Alamo Drafthouse on October 16. Joanna Newsom happens to be one of Christopher’s all-time favorite artists, so we were then on a mission to find out how we actually see the video. After many phone calls, I finally got word from Drag City Records that the video would be playing before Bridge of Spies and Crimson Peak. It was meant to be!

Now, Crimson Peak is one of those movies that I didn’t start to get too critical of until after it was over. Watching it in theaters was fun and engaging enough to not notice some issues that are more obvious later. There are four main characters: Edith (Mia Wasikowska), Thomas, Edith’s husband (Tom Hiddleston), Lucille (Jessica Chastain), Thomas’ sister, and Alan (Charlie Hunnam), Edith’s childhood friend and doctor. After Edith and Thomas are married, he takes her away from New York to live in his decrepit mansion with Lucille. The mansion is haunted and Edith happens to have a knack for being able to see ghosts. Back home in New York, Alan starts to suspect that Thomas or Lucille killed Edith’s father and are likely going to kill Edith or hurt her in some way.

The biggest problem I had, in the end, was why did Alan need to be a character? As the movie unfolds, Edith learns more and more about the house and Thomas and Lucille, and she figured everything out, just as Alan did. But instead of letting Edith save herself, the movie sends Alan over to be a big hero. Now, granted, Alan is pretty quickly disposed of as Lucille stabs him pretty early on and makes him unusable, but his presence still seemed totally unnecessary. One thing I did like, though, is the last fight comes down between Edith and Lucille, who always had the biggest conflict, anyway. Thomas and Lucille have an incestuous relationship, but once Thomas reveals that he actually loves Edith, Lucille murders him immediately. I really loved that scene – Lucille is so distraught (Edith had just stabbed her, too) that when Thomas puts the icing on the cake by saying he actually loves Edith, Lucille attacks and stabs him in a blind rage. With both Thomas and Alan out of the way, Edith and Lucille have a pretty fantastic and violent fight.

Something else that struck me was there was a scene where Edith is playing fetch with her dog (who came from the house) and the dog’s little red ball. At one point the dog comes back without the ball, but an unseen force rolls the ball back to Edith. This reminded me of the relatively famous scene from The Changeling where George C. Scott is also alerted to the presence of a ghost after a ball is rolled to him. Once that happened in Crimson Peak, The Changeling was in my head and it was hard not to compare the two and think “Huh, The Changeling was better and more original,” which is unfortunate but I think is a risk you take when you make an homage to another, potentially better, movie.

Crimson Peak isn’t the greatest movie ever, but it was legitimately fun to watch and I think it would be better to see in theaters. Also – the costumes were awesome.

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