It’s hard not to expect at least a decent movie when the likes of Tom Hiddleston & Jessica Chastain team up for a horror flick. What could go wrong, right? Well apparently, a lot. I know that the horror genre has always been peculiarly tough for filmmakers to deliver on, for how can you show something nobody can see? Time and again they have been relying basically on two things – the human emotion of the fear of the unknown and the run of the mill jump-scare tactics of playing a slowly intensifying music – drop silence – ending with a loud screech with sudden ‘ghost’ on the screen. The plot almost never makes sense. The ‘Ghost’ is always confined to a property (a house or a doll or both), yet nobody decides to desert / destroy the property for, well, reasons (more like convenience). There is not enough incentive or reasonable argument to justify the ghost’s actions. And finally, since it’s a ghost movie, logic should compulsorily go out the window – like right away (I mean seriously, when you see the stuff in your house flying mid air every other night, you know shit’s gettin’ crazy – TIME. TO. GO.).
Yet, Crimson Peak somehow proves to be a bit different than these typical Hollywood Horror flicks. It’s even more boring. I kid you not. The house that you see in the trailer, where apparently the ghosts reside, doesn’t show up till the interval. Even the time spent reaching that far is no fun either. The pace of the movie is agonizing and the story build up is way too long. The characters don’t justify their decisions. And worst of all – there is not a single use of the ‘ghosts’ shown in the movie. None. Seriously, if you remove the ghosts from the movie, the whole movie would be exactly the same, and thankfully shorter. Nor are the abysmal excuses for ghosts scary. All of them are similar to the one shown in Mama (again, starring Jessica Chastain), which was way scarier than Crimson Peak, but the ending to both the movies was equally hilarious.
So, moving to the actual story. I’m not giving any spoiler alerts for this one, because let’s face it, having read everything till now, do you STILL wanna watch the movie?
Set in the early 1900s New York, Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) is the daughter of an industrialist turned banker Carter Cushing (Jim Beaver). Her mother had died due to black cholera when she was a child, whose ghost comes to tell her (and scare her?) to stay away from ‘Crimson Peak’. Cut to 14 years later, Edith is an aspiring writer who is writing ”A Ghost story which is not about the ghost. The ghost is a metaphor about the past” (Yes, it sounds deep,and that’s when me expectations rolled in – only to realise that the joke was on us). Enter Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), he’s a supposed British aristocrat seeking banks to loan him money to mine red clay from under his large estate using a mining machine which is his own invention. While he is presenting his proposal to Edith’s father and the bank, they point out how he has tried & failed to raise the capital from many other cities around the world. All of this happens in Edith’s presence in the room. Edith’s father tells her that something about Thomas doesn’t feel right.
That evening, Edith’s mom’s ghost visits her again to warn about Crimson Peak just before Thomas comes to pick Edith up for a party. In the party we’re introduced to Thomas’ sister Lucille Sharpe (Jessica Chastain) (after watching enough Game of Thrones, you can’t help but ignore the obvious signs of incest and jealousy. At this point you know something is fishy with these siblings, and thanks to Cersei, you sort of know what it may be). Moving on, Edith’s father hires a detective to do some background checks on the siblings who are trying to be too friendly with his daughter and discovers something rather shocking. He offers them both some money and tells them to leave his daughter be and skip town. They agree.
The next morning, Someone kills Edith’s father, while Thomas writes a letter to Edith saying her father bribed him to leave her and leave NY, but he still loves her. She runs to his hotel to find that only Lucille had left while he stayed back. She decides to go with him to England, when they’re told of Carter Cushing’s death. They leave for England after the funeral and arrive at the Sharpe family home.
Yes, it took THIS long for them to reach the haunted house.
It is only after spending a some time here that Edith comes to know that the place is unofficially called Crimson Peak due to the red clay beneath it. Edith wakes up at night to see Thomas missing from her bedside and encounters a ghost on multiple occasions. These sightings and some other co-incidents lead her to the information that Thomas has been married before – multiple times. These marriages were in all the places where he visited, but failed to secure a loan for his mining machine. She then also discovers that Thomas and Lucille are actually in an incestuous relationship and have been trying to slow poison her to death. At this point Lucille goes full retard and tries to kill her by pushing her off the railing.
They don’t kill Edith yet since she has not yet signed off on the transfer of her complete estate to the Sharpes. During this, Thomas has shown to have a change of heart and is now wanting to save Edith. But Edith tries to kill Lucille and run, then Thomas burns the transfer papers, so Lucille kills him, and goes ahead to kill the escaping Edith again. At this point we arrive to an unfathomably childish standoff between the two, where the ghost of Thomas comes to help Edith (but doesn’t), while Edith kills off Lucille. it’s almost comic the way the last scene turns out.
This is how lame the movie is. A hollow story with a heavy cast wasting two hours of your life. After watching this, I was left with so many questions like –
Why can’t Hollywood make sensible horror movies?
Why do I still trust Loki after what happened in the last movie?
Why didn’t I take the clue when the poster clearly says BEWARE Crimson Peak?
Why didn’t I look this movie up on IMDB before buying the tickets?
Movie Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
(Yes, that’s 5 blank stars. Not 1/5, but 0/5)
Kshitij runs The Patil Post and Zetabyte Solutions Pvt. Ltd. - a web development company focussed on E-Commerce implementations. Loves to eat, sell, write and talk. He is an avid reader, an enthusiastic traveller and trekker at heart.
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