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20 October 2015 @ 08:53 pm
Crimson Peak  

Crimson Peak is a film by Guillermo del Toro, which while poised as a horror story from the previews it actually is more along the lines of a Gothic romance, more haunting than terrifying, and more about the human characters and the reasons and motives behind their actions than the ghosts that appear throughout the film. But despite it not being your typical horror movie, I do like how the mystery was unraveled and how the story was told overall. Another thing I liked was the subtle hints of foreshadowing of the story from the beginning, starting with our protagonist who mentions the meaning behind the idea of her first book. "It's not a ghost story, it's a story that has ghosts in it." Ghosts can be literal, but also metaphorical, and this film does a great job with handling both in terms of the supernatural along with the personal demons a character faces.

While I do wish we had gotten more information and background on the past incidents and the reasons behind these actions, as soon as the Flowers in the Attic-esque secret was revealed about the intimate relationship between Thomas and his sister, Lucille, I was immediately all in. I had a sneaking suspicion just based on Lucille's reaction towards Edith, and her behavior surrounding Thomas, and once we hear the truth about those affections she clearly had a strong hold on her brother. She loved him, he loved her, and they were using this twisted and horrible operation to steal money from unsuspecting women to help maintain their childhood home and not get found out. Of course, there is a lot of psychological aspects to this. Why were they remaining in that old house to begin with? When they could have simply just moved and hidden themselves away, not be found out about what they'd done? What Lucille had done to their mother at such a young age? But again, this story is about ghosts. Personal ghosts, they wanted to remain there for those ghosts along, looking into the past instead of moving on.

There is a lot of story there that is left untold and unanswered, something that I kind of wished was elaborated on in terms of Thomas and Lucille's childhood, their relationship, how they started their operations in the first place. I'm also curious about Thomas, he went along with everything for the longest time, but it makes me wonder if he had always believed in what they were doing only to have his mind changed because he fell in love with Edith, or if he always had second thoughts but was emotionally manipulated by Lucille. I'm overall fascinated by how fucked up their relationship was, and it's not the fact that it's incestuous. It's why I'm curious to know and understand their childhood, how Lucille became the way she did, how damaging and fucked up their unhealthy codependency was all these years. Lucille wanted her brother all to herself, and no one else. Her fear of loneliness, of being alone, was very apparent from her strong emotional reaction to the revelation that Thomas and Edith spent the night together alone away from the house. She didn't want to share her brother with anyone, she didn't want her brother to get attached to anyone else, and she certainly didn't want her brother to fuck anyone else but her. They're just so beautifully fucked up, it makes me want to learn more about them.

"The horror was for love, and love makes monsters of us all."

Oh, and how can I forget about Edith? She was quite lovely as a protagonist, I love her curiosity and bravery and ability to figure things out on her own. I also love the tie-in that at the very end, she wrote the book entitled Crimson Peak, meaning this was her retelling of the events that happened from her own experiences, mimicking the ghost story that she was writing in the beginning, but with a love story. A twisted, fucked up love story that made monsters of out people, and made ghosts from their pasts.

Overall, while not the horror movie most would expect, it was still a delightful treat. The cinematography was brilliant, the aesthetics was gorgeous, the clothing even more so in their rich details and colors. And yes, it was nice seeing a male character being mostly nude instead of women characters during a sex scene for once. All in all, it is an experience in itself to watch the story and mystery unfold.
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Riathriath on October 21st, 2015 07:29 am (UTC)
I think Universal ballsed up the promo a bit, billing it as just a horror. Del Toro himself had specifically said it was Gothic romance with a dash of horror, but why listen to the actual writer/director Universal!

The thing I love about del Toro's movies regarding the women is that they're not there to be eye candy for the men or just damsels in distress. Especially Edith in this one.

I saw this last Friday and loved it. =D
Renée: Inara Serra. Radiance.rogueslayer452 on October 21st, 2015 10:10 am (UTC)
Well, it's all part of marketing. Like, how Mad Max: Fury Road was marketed as just another action film through the promos, never giving away what the film was actually focusing on. I feel like most people wouldn't be interested in seeing Crimson Peak if the promos were advertising it to be a Gothic romance/mystery story, in a sense.

The thing I love about del Toro's movies regarding the women is that they're not there to be eye candy for the men or just damsels in distress.

Absolutely, and that is why I love his work so much. He manages to make women capable and actually, you know, real people without falling back on the Hollywood stereotypes. Both Edith and Lucille in this film were fascinating women in their own right, and that it was Thomas who ended up showing more skin than either of them throughout the whole film. I saw a clip from Stephen Colbert talking about how this was a nice reversal of what you usually see in the media these days when it's usually the women who end up being naked or half-naked for the male gaze.

It was such an enjoyable film. There were some jump scares, but I was mostly intrigued by the story and how it was all unraveled by the end. And I love the costuming in the film, goodness. ♥
DJ Jazzy D: beckett thoughtsdavesmusictank on October 21st, 2015 09:18 am (UTC)
I lobe his work. Toro is a real auteur. On my list ti see.

Edited at 2015-10-21 09:19 am (UTC)
Naomifrelling_tralk on October 21st, 2015 10:55 am (UTC)
That sounds like a really intriguing film, I'll have to check it out
Renéerogueslayer452 on October 22nd, 2015 12:11 am (UTC)
I highly recommend it, it's definitely very good. It has a chilling and haunting mystery that unfolds in an interesting way, and all the characters are fascinating in their own right. :)
rhoda_rants: eric dravenrhoda_rants on October 21st, 2015 01:35 pm (UTC)
I loooooved this movie, and am working on putting a blog together promoting some of the literary influences I picked up for the library.

But lookit, I gotta say something: WHAT is up with this, "So different than I was expecting" / "Not a horror movie, not really" / "Misleading previews misled me" song and dance I've been hearing all over the internet? I watched the same previews and promos that the rest of the world did, surely, and it was exactly what I expected. Maybe I just have a broader definition of "horror" than most people? It's dark, it's creepy, there are ghosts, and a couple jump scares, but it's focused on the characters and the mystery and the brain-crushingly gorgeous sets and costumes. It's a Del Toro movie--that's what he does.

So.

What gives? This is starting to bug me.
redbrunja: btvs | suffer for my sinsredbrunja on October 22nd, 2015 04:59 am (UTC)
Same here. I mean, it was a gothic horror, but it was still a HORROR movie. Ghosts and creepy houses and murder and all. I feel like people are not realizing the importance of the word 'gothic' in 'gothic romantic.' And, like, if you don't shelf this movie with horror, where the hell else are you going to put it?
rhoda_rants: eric dravenrhoda_rants on October 23rd, 2015 11:14 am (UTC)
Exactly--to me, all things Gothic fall under the Horror umbrella. It's not the same audience base as something like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but it's in the overall ballpark in the way that Pride and Prejudice is in the same overall ballpark as When Harry Met Sally. They're very different, but it's the same genre.
Renée: Nikita. Femme Fatale.rogueslayer452 on October 22nd, 2015 07:02 am (UTC)
WHAT is up with this, "So different than I was expecting" / "Not a horror movie, not really" / "Misleading previews misled me" song and dance I've been hearing all over the internet?

Honestly, I think for those people they probably thought that the ghosts would be the menacing forces rather than simply being there to help guide Edith to learning the truth. They probably didn't expect the real monsters behind everything to actually be human beings and not the ghosts themselves, which if that is their complaint I feel sorry for them, honestly. Because that is a twist that is very clever since people being the real monsters of the story, doing horrendous things for whatever reason they've convinced themselves is just, is the most terrifying thing of all. What Lucille and Thomas were doing to Edith, what they did to those other women and other people to get what they wanted, was such a brilliant way of turning the story around.

And you're right, this is exactly what Guillermo del Toro does with his work. This is right up his alley of storytelling (the Gothic setting and aesthetics, the plot, the fact that he said himself in interviews that this was a Gothic romance with added horror), and if anyone who wasn't familiar with his work, well, they certainly got a surprise.

In general, I think anytime someone mentions horror you get two types of people: those who have seen a variety of horrors and will be curious as to what something will be with the narrative, and the others who think horror is just blood and guts and monster jump scares in popcorn movies. The latter are those who felt misled by this film, instead of really reveling in how the story was told.
rhoda_rants: louisrhoda_rants on October 23rd, 2015 11:16 am (UTC)
I guess that makes sense. I mean, I have seen SO many movies like that though, where the ghosts/demons/monsters/whatever are a source of creepiness, but not the main Big Bad. I've gotten used to not always expecting that. But then, I do watch a LOT of horror.
Julie: DW ★ afterimageragnarok_08 on October 21st, 2015 02:30 pm (UTC)
That sounds like an intriguing film :)

The thing I love about del Toro's movies regarding the women is that they're not there to be eye candy for the men or just damsels in distress.

I love that too :DD
Galadriel.: ASOIAF ✽ Sansa Starksixphanel on October 21st, 2015 04:32 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen it yet, but I can't wait to watch it. It looked slightly terrifying from the trailer, but oh well. The actors, and the director, make me want to go to the movies.
Renée: Sansa Stark.rogueslayer452 on October 22nd, 2015 12:00 am (UTC)
It's not as scary as the trailers and promos make it seem, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. The marketing makes it seem like it's a straight up ghost/monster horror when it's more of a Gothic story with an unnerving and haunting atmosphere. Which personally, I really liked a whole lot.

But yeah, this being a Guillermo del Toro film, I think you'll enjoy it. :)
telly telly bo bellylusimeles on October 21st, 2015 07:08 pm (UTC)
this is a great review. i might actually go watch this, as it sounds a little less typically horror-y than your typical movie of the genre!
Renée: Elementary. Joan Watson.rogueslayer452 on October 21st, 2015 08:21 pm (UTC)
I highly recommend it. There are some jump scares here and there involving appearances of ghosts, but the movie was mostly about uncovering a haunting mystery, so it's less scary or your typical gorefest and more unnerving with the atmosphere. Plus, the aesthetics throughout are simply gorgeous, so if nothing else you'll be distracted by how pretty everything is, lol.

Edited at 2015-10-21 08:22 pm (UTC)
potentiality_26potentiality_26 on October 21st, 2015 09:45 pm (UTC)
Agree, I thought it was a great movie, if badly advertised. The characters were all so well drawn and it was seriously gorgeous.
Renéerogueslayer452 on October 22nd, 2015 12:07 am (UTC)
I feel like the advertisements, along with making sure many horror-loving fans would want to see the movie, also didn't want to give anything away in regards to the main plot. Focusing on the ghosts in the promos and trailers was a way of misleading people from the actual mystery. Whether that's good or bad depends on your opinion of the actual movie.

I enjoyed the movie a whole lot. The entire atmosphere was eerie and haunting, the aesthetics were simply gorgeous (I want all of those dresses, omg) and the acting was superb. The characters had a lot of layers to them and I just want to explore more.
redbrunja: arrow | heir to the demonredbrunja on October 22nd, 2015 05:01 am (UTC)
I feel like the advertisements, along with making sure many horror-loving fans would want to see the movie, also didn't want to give anything away in regards to the main plot.

Also, the ghosts ARE THERE, through the whole movie. Personally, I would have hated for someone to have been mislead by the trailer in the other direction and like, thought they were going into a movie where Tom Hiddleston angsts and got all the ghosts and horror and creepy moths that were there.
Renée: Elementary. Joan Watson.rogueslayer452 on October 22nd, 2015 06:44 am (UTC)
Exactly, the ghosts are there, they are present all throughout and serve an important purpose in guiding Edith to understand what has been happening in that house. I'm guessing some people believed that perhaps the ghosts would be the menacing forces, like with most horror movies.
i'm on a website where people fuck fruit: PacificRim Loccentgeckoholic on October 22nd, 2015 07:37 pm (UTC)
Yup, it's not horror per se; that I did know beforehand, del Toro said as much himself. It still wasn't really my speed in terms of pacing, but that's probably personal preference.

The cinematography was brilliant, the aesthetics was gorgeous, the clothing even more so in their rich details and colors. And yes, it was nice seeing a male character being mostly nude instead of women characters during a sex scene for once. -- YES. All of this.
Renéerogueslayer452 on October 24th, 2015 01:07 am (UTC)
It's pretty much a Gothic romance with horror elements sprinkled in, but it certainly hit all the right spots for me because of the atmosphere and setting and the story. I can understand how some would view it to be too slow, but as you said it's all about personal preference.
sherrilina: Arthur/Chicken (Merlin)sherrilina on October 28th, 2015 02:26 am (UTC)
Hmm, I keep hearing good things about this film, but I am also not the biggest fan of scary movies...Del Toro's "The Devil's Backbone" for example was a little too freaky for me. Have you seen that one?

On the other hand, I could deal with something like "The Others" with only occasional really freaky moments...
Renéerogueslayer452 on October 28th, 2015 03:44 am (UTC)
I can honestly say, aside from a few jump scares and moments of ghosts, it really isn't that scary especially in comparison to what you normally would think of with Hollywood horror films. I think it is quite similar to The Others in terms of the atmosphere telling the story. So if you could handle that movie, you can probably handle this one. It is more Gothic romance than it is straight-up horror.

I say this with confidence since my sister, who hates anything scary, went to see this in the theater alone and was perfectly okay with it. So I think you'll probably be fine. :)
sherrilina: Allison Argent (Teen Wolf)sherrilina on November 2nd, 2015 01:47 am (UTC)
Okay cool, thanks for that! I will try to see it, although holy crap it seems like there are suddenly a billion movies I want to see, and I haven't been to the theaters since "Far From the Madding Crowd" this summer. :s