I was personally very hesitant about this movie. After Del Toro went on record saying it wasn’t a horror movie I was very apprehensive. My least favorite films are typically suspense that ends up falling short due to cop-out endings. Movies like Secret Window and Hide and Seek are the prime examples of films that had the worst endings possible. After I watched them I felt like I got the bad ending in "choose your own adventure", but I could not go back and change anything about how I read the book. Crimson Peak did not have this feeling, in fact I would say this movie takes the best parts of two separate types of horror films, and yes that means I think Crimson Peak is a horror film.
The first kind of horror movie that Crimson Peak exemplifies is a thriller film. The characters are fairly dynamic and while the story is very, very simple they keep things interesting. Each character starts out as a kind of archetype and slightly changes over the course of the first half of the film. They do a good job of making you feel like you are not sure who is doing what to whom. In the latter half of the film, after roles are established, things get really creepy. It is one of the instances of humans showing why they should be feared just as much as any monster, ghost, or demon.
The second type of horror movie it exemplifies is a ghost story. Del Toro does a great job of making all the visuals in this film great, including the ghosts. They are terrifying and creepy like a ghost should be. This is not your typical movie stuff and they are not your average ghosts. They are very tangible, which I feel adds to the creep factor. They are horrible to look at, but in this movie they become something that the main character has to interact with. The setting was very much like The Woman in Black movies. This demon did not much enjoy those films. Crimson Peak did a great job of making the ghosts an interesting and useful part of the story, where Woman in Black was disjointed and failed to be all that creepy in the end.
There are a few take aways from this review. One, the story in this film is very, very simple, but the characters make the film very entertaining. This film does not sacrifice anything for an overly complex story. Keep it simple stupid. Two, this movie is a horror film and a character piece, much like The Babadook. Three, this film is visually stunning and worth watching just for the reimagining of how they use the “ghosts-in-a-mansion” archetype. This demon was pleasantly surprised by Crimson Peak and would highly suggest it to anyone looking for a good Halloween movie.
Happy Halloween, to our awesome readers!
Horror Qualifier: 8/10
Horror Quality: 7/10
Film Quality: 8/10