Crimson Peak ★★★

31 Days of Horror, Day 16

Crimson Peak is a good movie with a great one hiding somewhere inside it, and I’m left feeling conflicted. I’m both impressed by its execution and frustrated by its shortcomings, which mostly lie in the script. It’s not a subtle movie, and while I don’t mind that in some cases, here the dialogue is so literal and often so clunkily expository that it falls really flat. And if you somehow didn’t understand how the characters feel from the score, camerawork and visual symbolism, the dialogue is there to literally spell it out for you. I mean, this is a movie where the protagonist repeatedly says “ghosts are a metaphor for the past”.

Having said this, I appreciate what the movie is going for. It’s a traditionally gothic story that calls back to haunted house classics like The Haunting, and while I’m not the biggest fan of movies that so heavily lean into their influences, it mostly works for me here. And when it’s fun, it’s damn fun. Gothic, evil and English Jessica Chastain makes it worth a watch, and if it’s not particularly scary, it’s at least spookily inventive, and filled with terrific visual detail which is an absolute delight to behold. 

I liked it overall. It’s a fun watch and a perfect mood setter for cold, dark evenings.