Crimson Peak is exactly the kind of movie Vincente Minnelli would have directed if he had indulged in making horror pictures. In fact I thought of Minnelli's work (Gigi, An American in Paris, et al.) often as I enjoyed the colors and rich textures of director Guillermo del Toro. It's as lush and beautiful as a Disney cartoon in the 30's with del Toro's signature sense of style.
And speaking of Disney, del Toro has long been preparing to direct a movie based on the Haunted Mansion attraction at Disneyland, and a quick eye can catch at least a couple of homages here -- is it just me or does some of the wallpaper at Crimson Peak look suspiciously familiar? Hmm. I hope he does direct that project because this film shows off what an inspired fit he is.
This really is, at its core, an old fashioned scary movie. In fact, with the exclusion of one ill-fitting F-bomb and superlative CGI, this very well could have been made in the 40's starring Vincent Price and Gene Tierney. Just like one of those pictures, this one is good and creepy with a twist and comeuppance at the end. And also like one of those classics, this one gets a little bit slow in the middle before stepping on the gas to get us home. It's worth it.
Of course, you wanna scream at our heroine (Mia Wasikowska) for being stupid enough to even enter the haunted estate in the first place, much less hanging around after seeing dead people float around while she's bathing, but that's how these things go.
Mia does a terrific job of acting pale, per usual, and has a perfect look for period pieces like this. Charlie Hunnam (or the-guy-that-smartly-bailed-from-Fifty Shades of Grey, as he's often referred to) seems a little contemporary for the proceedings, but he sure is hunky in an all-American kind of way.
Tom Hiddleson is great and proves he's going to get all the jobs Hugh Grant is now too old for, while Jessica Chastain is fantastic and proves she's perfect to star as Nurse Ratchet in a remake of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Wow, I don't know how she does it, but Jessica manages to play to the cheap seats while being still, icy cold, and British -- nice job, dear.
Because of a couple of pacing issues (and the fact that it wouldn't take a mental giant to figure out the plot-twist), I wouldn't give this movie a full-on "A" but it's special enough to make an effort to catch -- particularly at this time of year. And, you could take (most) kids over the age of twelve and not be too worried of ... on second thought, it's pretty trippy and macabre, so be careful about that.
However, upon exiting, virtually every moviegoer was heard to say "That was beautiful."
Loudinni specializes in reviews under 500 words sans spoilers.