009: In del Toro We Trust

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[Warning: May contain some spoilery content.]

My first hand experience of the complaints of Crimson Peak range from “messy plot” to “not scary” and the ever popular with del Toro films “He should stick to indie flicks.” I’ve given myself some time to ponder over the movie, and I wonder if it’s wrong that the filmmaker trusted the audience too much, that we can’t discern a horror story from a ghost story? Can you solely blame the marketing in this case?

In both cases, I disagree. I think it was a bold move to bring a story like this to a mainstream audience that’s been deadened by what seems like countless Paranormal Activity sequels and continuous gore. Crimson Peak isn’t frightening. If anything, it’s tense, and peppered with a few toe-curling scenes and lots of practical effects (From del Toro’s twitter: “ALL except for one are entirely REAL actors in prosthetics IN SITU w digital touches.”)

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A discussion with a friend brought up a great point, that this story may have done better in a serial setting, think Penny Dreadful. There’s so much backstory to Thomas and Lucille Sharpe, that the audience only got a shallow taste of what their lives were before their demise. In fact, it was the case for most of the characters. In an attempt to cram all of this backstory into a singular movie, it seemed to have left a lot wanting, especially in the case of Edith Cushing’s character. This is where the movie falls it’s flattest.

On the case of marketing, it’s a typical move and not one that the audience should find shocking. It’s meant to get people to the seats whether they enjoy it or not. Personally, I’m rarely completely convinced from watching a movie trailer. I think I had decided I wanted to see this film solely on the fact that it was a del Toro creation.

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The resounding praise being handed is the set and costume design, and it’s not for nothing. The movie is set mainly in the decaying Allerdale Hall. The characteristics of the set are the perfect home for it’s ghosts and very important for the type of story that del Toro was trying to convey.

All of this aside, I truly enjoyed watching this movie as I stomached it’s flaws. Crimson Peak is not perfect, but it’s a fun and beautiful ride. Rating: 7/10.

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