Following the tragic death of her farther, Edith (Mia Wasikowska), an aspiring author, is left torn between two loves, that for a childhood friend or the mysterious strangers Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston). Trying to escape her past, she is swept away to an old house, where things are more than they might seem, and is this new place part of a warning she received after the death of her mother, to avoid Crimson Peak.
Crimson Peak begins showing the world of old where wealth, title and status were all that counted. We see a young man trying to acquire investors for his mining machine invention, and a young girl trying to make her way as an author in a world dominated by men.
The cinematics, settings, wardrobe and style are all reminiscent of that time, and a delight to behold, taking the viewer back in time to a society that is now but a memory. With all these colourful delights, we get to see a good old fashioned story of the heart, one of love, and choosing between someone we are meant to be with, and someone people tell us we should be with, due to societal norms.
Parallel to this, there is a darker story lurking, deep below the colourful façade of the dances and dinners portrayed on screen. A story of evil, death and looking out merely for oneself. There is love here too, but a forbidden live, and a misguided one, that leads down a very dark, tragic path.
Both these stories come together as wills are pitted against each other in the final act. Unfortunately, the symbolism used in the effects do pull the viewer right out of the story, opting to be too detailed, as opposed the old “less is more” credo, where the viewers imagination would fill in the gaps.
The tension does mount in the first half of the story, playing a psychological game, but the filmmakers tended to prefer the more “jump-scare” tactic as the tale unfolds.
Crimson Peak, has wondrous cinematics, ideal casting of actors who are at the top of their game. It’s just a pity that it all feels a little rushed in the final act.
Crimson Peak opens 30 October 2015 in South African cinemas.