Review: Crimson Peak

As a ghost story released at the end of October, Crimson Peak fell perfectly amidst rising excitement over Halloween. While some of my housemates may have unashamedly hidden beneath their coats throughout the film, it certainly did not rely on promises of thoughtless adrenaline shocks, cheap jumps and excessive gore to draw in its audience. Undoubtedly there were moments of horror and violence but this did not detract from what was a beautifully presented ghost story. 

The film flows the tale of Edith Cushing, a young American girl in the 19th century, consumed by the notion of writing and ghost stories who inevitably falls for the charms of British aristocrat, Thomas Sharpe. However their doomed romance draws her into a ghost story of her own as he sweeps her away from the vibrancy New York to the Sharpe’s Family home in the Lake District, preserved in a bygone era.

The Sharpe’s house itself is a beautiful achievement of the film, drawing clear similarities with the imposing House of Usher. It becomes a character in its self, groaning and shuddering as tension rises, seeming to breathe as the winds rattle through the decaying walls. The deterioration of the magnificent house nicely mirrors the decay and mystery surrounding the Sharpe family it houses. Indeed the deep red clay it is built on, which seeps into the lower floors of the house only serves to heighten the sense of horror and doom which will befall Edith as she becomes entangled in the life of Thomas Sharpe.

Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska are wonderful as the tragic lovers, however the true talent is in the haunting performance of Jessica Chastain who plays Lady Lucille Sharpe, a mysterious and imposing woman similar to that of Mrs Danvers from Rebecca who shrouds the secrets of the past and present from the naive young wife.

The exquisite detail of the film can be seen in between Lucille Sharpe and the house, as subtle details of the house are echoed in her costume. The set of the film enhances the enthralling quality of the story, bringing to life the empowering tale of Edith Sharpe as the secrets of the past threaten to destroy her future.

The film sets its self perfectly amongst other gothic romances and horror, drawing its audience into another time and world steeped in style, horror and mystery.

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