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.