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REVIEW: 'Crimson Peak' is a gorgeous, gothic thriller

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It appears that director Guillermo del Toro can add another successful movie to his resume with the gorgeous and thrilling Crimson Peak.  

Of course, every strong film is only as good as its cast, and Crimson Peak has a great one. Mia Wasikowska plays Edith Cushing, the smart, ambitious only daughter of Carter Cushing, played by Jim Beaver (Supernatural, Deadwood). As it turns out, Mia’s imagination is fueled in part by her experience seeing ghosts. Photo: www.theworkprint.com

Charlie Hunnam, who starred in del Toro’s Pacific Rim (and presumably its upcoming sequel) plays Alan McMichael, a doctor and childhood friend of Edith’s, who keeps a caring and watchful eye over her.  Meanwhile, the handsome Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) came to America with his sister, in search of a solution for his business. Sharpe (sporting jet black curls and his lovely British accent) turns Edith’s head, much to her father’s and Alan’s disappointment. While he’s best known for his role as Loki in such Marvel Universe films as The Avengers and the Thor movies, Hiddleston is at home in a period movie.  He previously worked with Wasikowska in Only Lovers Left Alive, and this time they have great chemistry as a romantic couple.

Some of Beaver’s most well known roles have him portraying decent men, and he brings grit, gravitas and sadness to the role of Cushing, as he tries to protect his daughter, Edith. Hunnam’s character might be harboring unrequited feelings, but he is also resourceful, tenacious, and trusts his instincts. Unfortunately for Alan, Edith ends up marrying Sharpe, and moving to his family home, where she lives with him and his sister, Lucille, played by a chilling Jessica Chastain (The Martian). Chastain consistently delivers wonderful performances, and she is menacing as the controlling sister. She finds herself isolated, and haunted again, while trying to understand what’s behind the terror she encounters.

Del Toro and collaborator Matthew Robbins, wrote the script, which appears to be inspired by Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft. They did a great job capturing the spirit of that time period. The costumes are lovely, and everyone looks wonderful. This film is technical achievement as well. Like most ghost stories, the house becomes a character, and is an amazing set piece. The special effects are fantastic. If you look away, you might miss a wisp of a ghost. 

If you are looking for an intelligent scare, grab a friend, and catch this soon-to-be classic on the big screen.

Crimson Peak is rated R, for violence, and there’s a relatively tame love scene with brief nudity.

 

Contact Diane Cooney at dcooney@philly2philly.com

 

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Photo: www.theworkprint.com