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Crimson Peak by Guillermo del Toro is too slow to be Frightening

Updated on February 19, 2016

Crimson Peak

If only this had been a better film.
If only this had been a better film. | Source


Crimson Peak:PG-13“ (1 h. 48 min.)

Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam, Jim Beaver

Directed by: Guillermo del Toro

Why I don't like Horror

OK, truth in reviewing time here kids, I’m not a big fan of horror, and the real reason for this has more to do with authors relying on tired old tropes, slasher/splatter, and hackneyed set pieces. Sure, sure I’m admittedly going to jump at all the “gotcha” moments of a horror film, but none of that is particularly “scary.” Simply put bad writing is bad writing. Yet, while none of that is the problem with Guillermo del Toro’s lushly shot period horror piece Crimson Peak, it still falls far short of being frightening or even disturbing. Truthfully, its languid pace is so slow that it is all but sleep-inducing.

Crimson Peak Blu-ray

Crimson Peak [Blu-ray]
Crimson Peak [Blu-ray]

When her heart is stolen by a seductive stranger, a young woman is swept away to a house atop a mountain of blood-red clay: a place filled with secrets that will haunt her forever. Between desire and darkness, between mystery and madness, lies the truth behind Crimson Peak. From the imagination of director Guillermo del Toro comes a supernatural mystery starring Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska and Charlie Hunnam.


The setting

Set in Cumbria, England, in a crumbling mansion in a largely rural and mountainous region of northern England in the early 20th century, young author Edith Cushing (Wasikowska) falls in love and marries Sir Thomas Sharpe (Hiddleston) after she experiences a family tragedy. However, after their brief courtship and marriage, she then discovers that her charming new husband is not quite whom he initially appeared to be. When he brings her to his ancestral home in the countryside, she comes to realize that it apparently harbors ghostly, mysterious entities and secrets, which he and his sister, Lady Lucille Sharpe (Chastain), fiercely attempt to hide.

Crimson Peak trailer

Ghosts be here

Edith, mother passed away while she was still young but Edith believes that the ghost of her mother still watches over her. Now, seeking to escape the ghosts of her past, Edith finds herself swept away in a house that apparently breathes, bleeds; and remembers the past. Needless to say, even though Edith is very much a woman of the Victorian Age she desires to be more than simply just another woman of marriageable age. However, after her marriage Thomas and relocating with him to his manor out in the countryside with his sister, far away from everything she has known. She realizes that everything is not quite what it seems to be as ghosts of the past quite literally come out of the woodwork.

The creepy sister

The house is hunted, your husband is mysterious and his sister (who lives with you) is creepy.
The house is hunted, your husband is mysterious and his sister (who lives with you) is creepy. | Source

Why we don't like this film

As stated, this film is not so much about gore as it is about mystery and suspense. Unfortunately, that also proves to be its downfall as the pace of the film proves to be intolerably slow as if every camera shot caries weight, and is massively important. The slow, languorous, unhurried camera pans linger on each shot, pulling out the pacing of the cinematography (which don’t get us wrong, is simply gorgeous, still, beautifully shot movies simply don’t make for good movies, you need an actual story). Honestly, we really did want to enjoy this film, unfortunately, we simply couldn’t as the characters were too distant and remote to address, the slowness of the unfolding of the plot, the unfrighteningness of the “horror” and, well the lethargic pacing of the film itself all conspired to make this film something of a snoozefest for us.


No, this still isn't scary
No, this still isn't scary | Source

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Don't go down that Hallway!

Always a bad idea.
Always a bad idea. | Source


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    • Robert J Sodaro profile image

      Robert J Sodaro 2 years ago from CT, USA

      Well then mark me as having had missed the point. I didn't get "campy" at all, I thought it was supposed to be a Gothic horror film, and in that regard it was singularly disappointing.

    • Michaela Osiecki profile image

      Michaela 2 years ago from USA

      I don't think this film was meant to be a horror movie at all. All the actors and even del Toro himself claimed that the film was meant to be kind of campy in the way of a Gothic Romance. And I think it succeeded quite well in that endeavor. Anyone under the misguided notion that this is a horror film is definitely going to wind up disappointed.