Friday, October 16, 2015

Review: Crimson Peak

The real reason you're going: Hiddles.

While we were attending Necronomicon Tampa, we got passes for a premiere screening of Crimson Peak. Waiting for the movie itself was a bit of an experience - we got marked on the hand when we entered, just like a bar stamp, and the audience was repeatedly ordered to shut all cell phones off if we wanted the movie to start.

Crimson Peak presents itself as a gothic romance, and it is gothic in the old style - nothing cutesy or Addams-like about the setting or the story. Edith Cushing is a young New York woman who has been able to see ghosts since her mother's death. Her mother has warned her to beware "Crimson Peak".

She has grown into a wannabe author when she meets Thomas Sharpe, baronet of Allerdale Hall, and his beautiful but quiet sister Lucille. Thomas is seeking investors for a machine to harvest the clay at Allerdale, which is coming out of their ears. Edith's father sees the attraction his daughter has for the young lord, and pays Thomas to leave town. Their love seems doomed until Edith's father dies - oh, pardon me, he was brutally murdered. When I say brutal, I mean violent and gory. There is gore in this film, although it only shows up when the story demands it.

Allerdale Hall is no palace. Edith, now Thomas' wife, arrives to find that her cultured and well-dressed love lives in a shambles of a once-great house. The estate is built atop deep red clay, tinting the water in the house red (symbolism, anyone?). The rafters over the great atrium are exposed to the sky, ensuring an esthetic fall of dust in the daylight when the weather is good, and an equally lovely drifting of snow when it isn't. They didn't show what happens when it rains, even though this is supposed to be England.

Red clay even seeps up through the floorboards. Edith learns that, when the hill the manse sits on is covered with snow, the red stains it, earning it the name "Crimson Peak". Yep, this is the place her dead mother warned her about. Thomas spends his days outside, digging up the endless supply of bloody clay. Our heroine spends her days with Lucille, who has a touch (okay, a whopping load) of the crazy. Allerdale Hall is also full of ghosts, disturbing Edith's sleep and drawing her into the mystery of why so many disturbed spirits reside there (beside her sister-in-law).

Because many fangirls will ask: the sex scene between Thomas and Edith is mostly concealed in voluminous petticoats. We do see Loki's naked hiney, although it could have been a butt double. There is other sex in the film, but I will leave that for you to discover.

Crimson Peak is rated R, mostly for the violence. This isn't a splatter film, but some of the fight scenes will make you cringe in sympathetic pain. Overall, I enjoyed it and found it full of atmosphere.

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