Arrow Video: Crimson Peak (2015) - Reviewed

crimson peak

As a little girl, Edith (Mia Wasikowska) is visited by the ghost of her mother who warns her about “Crimson Peak”. As a young woman, she has started on a hopeful career as an author of ghost stories.  When the exotic Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston),and his sister, Lucille (Jessica Chastain) come into town, Edith is swept away by their charms. After her father is mysteriously murdered, she marries Thomas and goes to live with he and Lucille in their family’s gothic mansion on the English countryside.  For the first time in years, she is visited again by ghosts!  Through listening to the specters, and doing a little bit of her own investigating in the depths of the dilapidated mansion she is practically imprisoned in, she learns some deadly family secrets….

More of a gothic melodrama than a haunted house movie, the use of color in Crimson Peak is delightful.  Bright and warm oranges and yellows surround Edith before she moves into the mansion with Thomas and Lucille, which make me think of the spunkiness and hope she feels as an aspiring author.  This is harshly contrasted with moodier blues and dark crimson red that become apparent once Edith moves into the mansion. The ghosts are epic practical creature effects/CGI creations that look menacing yet romantic; the prevailing look is a red hued apparition with a skull face. The costumes are breathtaking, with the lush texture and gothic witchy designs on the gowns of Lucille attracting the most attention. 

crimson peak

While the actors do an acceptable job of delivering dialogue, there is not a lot of chemistry between any of the leads.  It does not feel as if Edith and her other suitor, Alan (Charlie Hunnam) have any sort of chemistry, so the scandal of Edith being seduced by Thomas is slightly lost.  That being said, it is also sort of difficult to accept that Thomas and Edith have any sort of passion for one another. The love scene is awkward at best. These two make kissing look about as sexy as routine dental work.  

The character of Edith is easy to feel sorry for, but that does not mean that her story is easy to care about.  Aside from the bright colors, elaborate sets and wardrobe, the film feels empty. The characters’ motivation is lacking.  It is hard to understand why anyone does what they do.

This newly released Arrow Video Blu-ray includes not only the basic special features one could hope for, like audio commentary by Guillermo Del Toro, deleted scenes, original trailers, and even an image gallery, but also featurettes about practically any and every aspect of this movie that you can think of. This Blu-ray is packed with mini-documentaries about the sets, the use of color, the costumes, more about the sets, the ghosts, and two featurettes about Gothic Romance. A super fan of this movie would be in hog heaven.

--Mara Powell