Crimson Peak - Sometimes Daddy does know best - 2 stars

Do you believe in ghosts? 

Walking into the cinema...
Horror is not my favourite genre, but Guillermo del Toro and Tom Hiddleston are usually brilliant in their perspective crafts. So, will this combination be worth the scare?  

Overall Rating: 2 stars
Cinematic rating: 2 stars 
Bigger questions rating: 3 stars      

          Do you believe in ghosts? Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) opens with this question and states that she believes in these paranormal spirits, because she has seen them since she was 10 years old. These haunting elements influence this young woman into her adult life, where she aspires to be the next Mary Shelley of the literary world. This aspiration puts her on the outside of high society, even though this is where she has been raised throughout her life. Then Edith is drawn back into the realm of the upper social class by the suave Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston). Initially he desires to raise funds from the Edith's father, but then turns his attention to Edith. Thomas makes it apparent that his desire is to marry this young heir and to sweep her away to his home in England to live in his familial mansion. Against a multitude of opposition from family and friends, Edith chooses to go along with the Thomas and his sister, Lady Lucille (Jessica Chasten), to their home at Crimson Peak. Soon after her arrival in the tragically, creepy Sharpe home, she realises that everything is not what it seems with her new husband and his sister. 
          Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) directs this picturesque, but grotesquely absurd Gothic horror. For the fans of this visionary director, this will satisfy their appetites due to the visual smorgasbord that is put before audiences. Lavish sets, costumes and visual effects pour forth onto the screen and will deservedly garner a multitude of awards considerations. This has come to be a signature for del Toro. All who view this spectacle will appreciate his visionary styling, but quickly will come to the realisation that the beautifully, horrific cinematography cannot mask the weaknesses of the unoriginal script. Understanding that this is meant to provide a modern twist on the a throw back to the horror films of yesteryear, this outing inevitably misses its mark. Crimson Peak achieves the throwback element, but the one thing that del Toro seems to have forgotten is that this is supposed to be a horror film. Do not misunderstand, he provides gruesome effects and a few bits of suspense, but fails to provide any original shock value. Most of the scarier components are unapologetically telegraphed and leaves the effects with minimal surprise or suspense. 
         Hope for the script can be found in the acting talent. Hiddleston and Chastain showcase their abilities to mine the depths of human despair with their convincing performances as the murky Sharpe siblings. Yet, their thespian prowess cannot make up for the anaemic screenwriting or for Mia Wasikowska in the lead role. She continues to maintain her career in a multitude of period pieces, but her acting skills continue to suffer in comparison to the surrounding cast. It is hard to tell if it the failing of the script or this young actor in her portrayal of Edith Cushing. She seems to be the only person, on or off the screen, who does not see the tragic error in following her heart's desire. She has the right look, but lacks the acting chops to be convincing in the lead role. Like his beautiful lead actress, del Toro provides stunning visual effects without any real substance in Crimson Peak. It may be like many of his other films, which became cult classics, but he fails in this outing to deliver the terror of modern or classic horror films. 
         REEL DIALOGUE - One of the most frustrating components of this film was that Edith Cushing goes from a strong female lead to a naive woman who cannot make a wise decision. She is surrounded by a myriad of good counsellors. Yet, she continues to make  decisions that plunge her deeper into this horrific experience. One thing that is seen throughout the Bible is the recommendations to get counsel on life's decisions. 'Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.' God provides a direct link to himself through prayer, his word, to direct and multitude of counsellors to help in making decisions.

Leaving the cinema...
Visually stunning, but fails to deliver the fear factor needed for a good horror film. 

REEL DIALOGUE: What are some of the bigger questions to consider from this film? 
1. What does the Bible say about counsel? (Proverbs 15:22, Proverbs 19:20)
2. Can we ever find justice? (Proverbs 21:15, Romans 12:19)
3. What is the value of family? (John 15:12-17, Ephesians 3:14-15) 

Trailer for the film

Written by Russell Matthews based on a five star rating system @ Russelling Reviews #russellingreviews #crimsonpeak