Crimson Peak

Crimson Peak is a 2015 American gothic romance film by director Guillermo del Toro and written by del Toro and Matthew Robbins. The film stars Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam, and Jim Beaver. Produced by Legendary Pictures and distributed by Universal Pictures, the film was released on October 16, 2015.

The movie starts in 1887, after young 10 year old Edith, the daughter of wealthy American businessman Carter Cushing, has just lost her mother to an illness. Later at night she gets a visit from her mother’s ghost who warns her to “beware of Crimson Peak”. 14 years pass and a young Edith is a budding writer but her editor wants her to write more romance in the ghost stories that she prefers to write. Edith is introduced to Sir Thomas Sharpe, an English baronet, who is in the US to get investors for his clay mining invention. Cushing, who built his business the hard way, lightly insults Thomas’s privileged upbringing and mentions the Englishman’s previous failed attempts to get raise capital and rejects his proposal along with his fellow businessman.

Edith notices that Thomas and his sister, Lucille, wear expensive but outdated and somewhat-frayed fashions. Shortly after, Edith once again is visited by her mother’s spirit bearing the same warning. Thomas begins to court Edith, sharing similar passions in ghost stories and offers to read her manuscript. He and Edith become romantically attached, Cushing and Edith’s childhood friend, Dr. Alan McMichael, disapprove. Cushing hires a private detective to check into the Baronet’s background uncovers unsavory facts about the Sharpes. Mr. Cushing confronts the siblings and bribes them into returning to England. As Cushing insisted he do, Sir Thomas abruptly and cruelly ends his and Edith’s relationship, but the next morning, he sends her a note explaining his actions. That morning someone in a black coat brutally murders Cushing in the bathroom, making it look like like a possible accident. Thomas stays behind while his sister goes back to England and is at Edith’s side as she arranges for her father’s funeral. Edith and Thomas eventually marry and travel to Allerdale Hall, the Sharpes’ dilapidated mansion in rural England, which sits atop a red clay mine. As Edith settles in, she finds that Lucille acts somewhat cold toward her while Sir Thomas remains physically distant. Edith is left confused and uncertain by their behavior.

Edith starts encountering greusome ghosts in the mansion and she leaps at the chance to go into town with Thomas, where they spend the night in a rented room and consummate their marriage. When they get back home the next morning Lucielle lashed out angrily at Edith, saying she was worried sick before calming down. Edith learns from Thomas a little later that the estate is also referred to locally as “Crimson Peak,” due to the warm red clay seeping up through the snow and she remembers the warning. Edith starts to feel sick and coughs up blood but explores the mansion and begins piecing clues together, discovering that Sir Thomas previously married three wealthy women who were fatally poisoned for their inheritances. She realizes she, too, is being poisoned. She also discovers the siblings have had a long-term incestuous relationship, resulting in a sickly infant that died. Lucille, older by 2 years, murdered their mother after she had discovered her children’s incest. Thomas inherited the family manor that, like many aristocratic estates of the era, is no longer profitable; the siblings are almost out of money. The brother and sister began the “marriage and murder” scheme to support themselves and to fund Thomas’s inventions.

While this happens back in the US Dr. McMichael couldn’t let go of his suspicions about Cushing’s death contacts the detective that Cushing had hired, who tells Alan what he uncovered about the Sharpes, including Thomas’s multiple marriages and Lucille’s time in a mental institution. Alan goes to England and reached the mansion to rescue Edith. Lucille however stabs him and then demands that Thomas finish him off. Thomas, in love with Edith and does not want her harmed, inflicts a second, non-fatal stab wound to Alan before hiding him in the cellar. Lucille forces Edith to sign a transfer deed granting the Sharpes ownership of the Cushing estate and also confesses to her that she was the one who murdered Edith’s father. Edith signs the deed then she stabs Lucille in the chest with a pen and tries to flee. Thomas burns the deed and promises to protect Edith so that she and Alan can escape. Lucille, jealous over Thomas falling in love with Edith, murders him in a rage. She then pursues Edith. Aided by Thomas’ ghost, Edith kills Lucille with a shovel. Thomas bids Edith a silent farewell as his spirit departs. Edith and Alan are rescued, and Lucille’s ghost now haunts Allerdale. The end credits imply that Edith has written a novel titled Crimson Peak based on her experiences.

The story is kinda nothing new and even ends a bit predictable but it is a gorgeous set movie and acted well with a strong cast. I like horror stories and Gothic films and this one does most things well. I give it an 8 outta 10!

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