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Edith Cushing is running away from a family tragedy. She marries Thomas Sharpe, a mysterious stranger. She comes to live with him and his sister, Lady Lucille Sharpe. She starts to find out that the Sharpe's home is filled with ghosts. Written by
Guillermo del Toro is a director and artist whose films fall into two distinct categories: big budget English language blockbusters like "Hellboy" and "Pacific Rim" and lesser known, low budget Spanish language horror films like "Devil's Backbone" and "Pan's Labyrinth". His latest film, "Crimson Peak" is what happens when these two worlds collide, in other words, a big budget English language horror film.
"Crimson Peak" is set in the late 19th century, first in New York, then in rural England. Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) is a young budding writer who is intelligent, beautiful, and strong willed, refusing to allow Victorian sensibilities dictate what she can and cannot do, and as a result butts heads with those around her. Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) is an English aristocrat and inventor who is in New York seeking financial backing for his mechanized clay mining business back home. When tragedy strikes, Thomas marries Edith and brings her to his home, Allerdale Hall in Cumberland, where his sister Lucille Sharpe (Jessica Chastain) is waiting. As Edith tries to fit into her new surroundings, she discovers that secrets abound and nothing is as it seems.
The visuals in "Crimson Peak" are so glorious, they are almost overwhelming. The sets are spectacular visions of beauty and decadence in decay; costumes are intricately detailed and gorgeous; the lighting and over saturated color bring depth and meaning; the ghosts are grotesquely beautiful; and, of course, the del Toro trademarks of insects and clockwork gracefully found their way into the story as well.
Because "Crimson Peak" is a rather large studio production, it is being marketed to a large audience. I believe this accounts for some of the lackluster reviews I have been reading. If one is not familiar with del Toro's prior Spanish language films, they may not understand his unique cinematic perspective. For some, this will mark the beginning of a journey into del Toro's fantasy world, for others it will be a disappointment. For me, it was almost everything I wanted it to be.
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