Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Crimson Peak

Friday night we had to the chance to pull a double feature at the movies. The first film we hit was Crimson Peak. The ad campaign made this look very suitable for the Halloween season. It has been a long time since I have seen a really good ghost story. Thank you Hollywood for releasing a ghost story movie in October and not in February or May.

We enter at the end of the 19th century a proper setting for some gothic horror or is more Victorian era?

Here we have young Edith, the only daughter to her widowed and wealthy father.  Edith is  aspiring to be a novelist.  Well that is until she falls in love with a not so wealthy English clay farmer, one Sir Thomas Sharpe. She is then visited by the ghost of her mother warning her to beware of Crimson Peak. Well ok then.  After a whirlwind romance ,and the horrible death of her father, Edith marries Sir Thomas and jets away to his estate in England. Her new home is the dilapidated Allerdale Hall. Her she is to live with her new husband and his intense and maybe crazy sister.


Edith soon learns that Allerdale Hall is called Crimson Peak due to the red clay that is farmed/mined there. Oh snap her mom told her about this!  Well that is just a bunch of hokum. Right? Well that is until Edith starts to see ghosts on a nightly basis. That leads her to do a bit of investigation into the history of this place and the Thomas family.

Meanwhile back in the U.S. a long-time friend (and want-to be beau) of Edith, Dr. McMichael, uncovers some information about Sir Thomas. Oh no there are some unsavory events in the Sharpe’s past and present. He is off to England to save her and the day!

"Well sweetie you did marry Loki....so this is really on you.
Now have some tea."

Eventually, Edith discovers the truth behind the Sharpe family and the hauntings in the manor house. The only problem is now how is she going to reconcile all this and survive?

This was and was not what I expected. The ads made it look like a hard core bloody ghost story. It really wasn’t that at all. It is instead a slow burning Victorian/Gothic romantic thriller that has a bit of with ghosts as a plot device and a healthy mix of V.C. Andrews. If you go (or went in) expecting a bloody bunch of ghost and bloody blood stuff, then you will be (or were) disappointed.

I was really surprised how much I liked this movie. There was a huge amount of build-up and back story, but it didn’t get too heavy or drag for me. If anything the slow build only made the final fall that much better.

There is some amazing imagery and atmosphere going on in this movie. Allerdale Hall is just awesome and creepy. The broken down look. The creepy red clay mine beneath the foundation giving the grounds a bloody appearance. The dark hallways and rooms. The sounds that resonate through the house. All this make for a delightfully creepy story location.

Then there are the ghosts. Holy crap are they look fantastic! Their broken and skeletal appearance is amazing. Then there is the fact they are covered in the same crazy red clay giving them a bloody look that just amplifies their creepiness. Their wispy forms that are also drippy are so much fun! Great stuff!

There is not the horror obligatory jarring noises and jump scares and that makes the film even better.

If there is a downside it is that you can see the surprise at the end coming. Well you should be able to see it before they drop it in your lap, especially if you know anything about flowering plants in the top storage levels of a house.
A proper ghost story set against a tragic romance. Yeah it is not what I expected, but it was still enjoyable. I actually enjoyed a tragic romance movie. Who would have thought that?

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