Crimson Peak, directed by Guillermo del Toro, based on a script by del Toro and Matthew Robbins is a haunted house movie set in Victorian times.
When Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) is still a child, the ghost of her mother appears to her and warns her to “beware of Crimson Peak”. As an adult, she meets Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) and his icy sister, Lady Lucille Sharpe (Jessica Chastain). She falls in love with Thomas, but her father (Jim Beaver) disapproves of him. When her father is mysteriously murdered, however, Edith is free to marry Thomas. They move to the manor house that Thomas’s family has lived in for hundreds of years. It is a dilapidated structure with holes in the ceiling, which sits on top of more red clay than you will find in the whole state of Connecticut. We’re told that the red clay stains snow red, and Edith eventually learns that because of this, people call the place “Crimson Peak”. (Which doesn’t really make sense, because the house is located on flat ground.) Right away, Edith starts seeing ghosts. Even worse, she begins to suspect that Thomas and Lucille are keeping secrets from her.
Crimson Peak is not a bad film. It kept me entertained for two hours. Yet it left me feeling somehow unsatisfied. In Pan’s Labyrinth, del Toro took the traditional fairy tale and found a way to make it seem relevant to our times. In Crimson Peak, however, he seems satisfied to recycle familiar devices of Victorian melodrama. There is nothing in this film that seems really fresh or new.