Crimson Peak Screen 21 articles

Crimson Peak

2015

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  • In the face of the beautifully monstrous killers and hyper-erotic, almost avant-garde violence of something like Hannibal, or the recapitulation of gothic tropes on Penny Dreadful, Crimson Peak seems like half-measures, less than committed to its dream state... In making this Edith’s well-trod story instead of that of his beautiful monsters, del Toro has made his Jane Eyre when he could have made his Wide Sargasso Sea.

  • My favorite Del Toro to date, which tells you how I feel about Del Toro... Production design is obviously boffo, and I remain a sucker for this mode of overripe storytelling, even when it's constructed as shoddily as it is here; kind of a treat to see Chastain go totally unhinged in the home stretch, too. But Del Toro's laboriously overdetermined approach to filmmaking just doesn't appeal to me. He directs movies the way Pacific Rim's Jaeger pilots move.

  • Del Toro builds a tight plot but never develops it; his frames are overdecorated with macabre clutter and smothered in shadow, but the atmosphere of dread never reaches ecstatic excesses. The director faces the material with a studious earnestness, lavishing more attention on the effects than on the images or the performances. The movie only comes to life at the very end, with the inevitable suspense of the sanguinary showdown.

  • Once our stricken heroine’s father’s head is smashed over and over into a porcelain sink until his face cracks open and his brains and skull spew all over a bathroom floor, Del Toro lets loose and shows his true, deep-red colors. Sure, Jessica Chastain is having fun as the villainous, incestuous sister-in-law, but del Toro is so busy putting her and everyone else through their tired paces that nothing feels like it’s developing in any natural way.

  • This has shocks, but few scares – after all, in del Toro’s world, ghosts may look alarming but that are basically our friends. Nevertheless, this is a rich essay in the form, which takes care to evoke even the lighting cues of vintage Roger Corman or Mario Bavain the service of a rattling good melodrama.

  • ...That’s both the problem and the wonder of Crimson Peak: It features lots of ghosts, but isn’t really a ghost story. It speaks a lot about romance, but isn’t really a romance. It gives us the structure of a mystery, yet has very little mystery in it. It isn’t even all that haunted by the past, despite that whole line about ghosts as metaphors. It doesn’t always seem to know what it wants to be. But it’s still full of marvels.

  • Crimson Peak is an intense, claustrophobic and seriously atmospheric horror film that is definitely worth watching, once. This latest addition to Guillermo Del Toro’s long list of notable movies is a decent drama/fantasy/horror but it is by no means up to the calibre of his highly acclaimed Pan’s Labyrinth.

  • If you haven't yet seen Crimson Peak, I strongly recommend checking it out in IMAX while it's still playing in that format. Guillermo del Toro's gothic horror film makes inspired use of the large screen, employing it to enhance the towering mise-en-scene and chilling atmosphere.

  • Unsuccessfully marketed as a horror movie, this lush, florid Gothic romance represents the high-water mark for director Guillermo Del Toro’s gifts as a pure stylist. A simple Bluebeard fable expressed through extravagant set and costume designs, ingenious effects, insect imagery, and boldly deployed colors, Crimson Peak lets its subtexts and metaphors grow wild, until they overwhelm the movie like creeping vine.

  • No, I did not find the narrative particularly satisfying. Yes, I really would rather see Del Toro get all the money to make all the Lovecraft adaptations. Still. Not just the visual ravishment but the clear emotional swoon-lust that animates this movie caught me up but good.

  • Sumptuous and rotten, beguiling and dangerous. Each frame contains a distinct sense of time and place, color and texture, but also a subterranean connection with an unspoken past.

  • ++

    Sight & Sound: Mar Diestro-Dópido
    October 02, 2015 | November 2015 Issue (pp. 22-24)

    A profoundly sensual, ornate, carnal gothic romance set at the turn of the 20th Century... Del Toro's own creative triumph in Crimson Peak lies in reconfiguring a well-trodden genre on his own terms, giving a fresh slant to gothic tropes – be they from literature, art or cinema – so that it's the female protagonists driving the narrative this time round.

  • Its sombre sincerity and hypnotic, treasure-box beauty make Crimson Peak feel like a film out of time – but Del Toro, his cast and his crew carry it off without a single postmodern prod or smirk. The film wears its heart on its sleeve, along with its soul and most of its intestines.

  • Del Toro may have less in common with the masters of horror than he does Wes Anderson, who similarly papers over his characters' melancholy and displacement from the present with elaborate bricolage and immersion in esoterica. Crimson Peak, then, may be the director's Life Aquatic, his fussiest, most compartmentalized construction, and therefore the one filled with the most powerful sense of repression and delusion.

  • Though the writer/director's fascination with the antiquated and arcane shines through most brightly, this is a film of countless simple pleasures. Del Toro knows how to move a camera to build tension, how to shoot an interior to make it feel dauntingly open yet claustrophobically closed at the same time, and how to really make you feel the presence of the three principles even when they are not in the frame.

  • As in "Pan's Labyrinth," "Crimson Peak" creates an environment where these high stakes can operate at full throttle. The visuals of Allerdale Hall call to mind German Expressionist filmmakers, as well as directors as various as Mario Bava and Hitchcock. But while "Crimson Peak" launches associations (Gothic/Romantic tradition, Hitchcock, Shirley Jackson, Murnau, Bava, Kubrick's "The Shining," The Brothers Grimm, "Jane Eyre"), it's not just a tribute, it's a hybrid all Del Toro's own.

  • Past Del Toro fantasies like Pan's Labyrinth and The Devil's Backbone served a larger allegorical purpose, such as channeling the terrors of childhood or war, but Crimson Peak is more fully ensconced in the universe it conjures. In other words, it's purely a feat of direction, though having Chastain around to wield a teaspoon like an ax against the grindstone certainly gives the film a boost.

  • This is the sort of film that shouldn’t work as a whole, but does, managing to perfectly balance the healthy dose of homage, legitimate scares and goofiness in pulling off something so ridiculous and ambitious in concept. Much of the reason why Crimson Peak lands is because, whilst del Toro and co. diversify their references, there is an assuredness in their execution that suggests such an approach isn’t just a scattershot attempt to satisfy as broad an audience as possible.

  • If you’re a keen enough viewer, there are no twists... While this may sound slightly anti-climactic, the experience is nonetheless exciting and shocking. In a time when convolution and cheap revelations and reversals clog up the gears of films on this economic scale, not being tricked is the greatest, most rewarding surprise of all.

  • As del Toro’s focus shifts increasingly from Edith’s mental turmoil to the red clay seeping through the earth underneath the mansion, and the impeccably color-coordinated clothes of the leads, the film’s gender politics reveal the extent to which classic gothic romance is not as dated as we might want to believe; and the degree to which even contemporary filmmakers can blindly embrace sexist tropes, provided they make for a visually stunning show.

  • The plot itself surrenders to atmosphere; there isn't a single set, costume, or special effect that doesn't move the story along better than any line of dialogue... Even though many critics and filmgoers alike claim it isn't that scary, this critic begs to differ. Certainly nothing terrifies me more than watching two people engaged in a protracted knife fight...in the snow...while wearing white!

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