MOVIE – Guillermo del Toro is back, after a lovely trip to a bunch virus spreading vampires in New York, Del Toro has decided to try something new in this day and age, to make an actual horror movie. This year has been really dreadful for horror movies, but in general I think the genre has been on the decline due to three reasons.
On one end you have the PG-13 horror (haha) movies that are essential now are remakes (Poltergeist remake? We really needed that?). On the other hand however, you have the schlock, which are really bloody, and gory movies that may or may not have production value to not look like fake cgi blood or just a bunch of teenagers acting stupid. Oh and the last category is the horror movie has to be funny or quirky because horror movies cannot be taken seriously anymore.
Well after watching Crimson Peak I can finally say that this was a breath of fresh air. It proved that the genre is still alive, and well (though it is hanging by a thread). Does not need constant jump scares, or shaky camera to make the audience scared. It is also probably one of the best shot movies of 2015, with cinematography that will make your eyes bleed due to its beauty.
The movie subverts all expectations, and the trailers do not do enough justice for the movie.
Crimson Peak is in a very weird place when it comes to the Horror movie genre. The trailers make it seem like it will be a slaughterfest full of ghost, and partly because of this I was skeptical when sitting down and watching the movie. I was expecting two hours of nonstop ghosts killing people, and characters dying left and right without having the time to get to know them properly. Well those thoughts went out the window as soon as the movie starts.
The movie is not a typical horror movie, and instead it is more of a Romance Horror movie (WAIT DON’T GO YET). While it is true that the movie is not bombastic in it’s gore, instead here it is more subtle slower, and even when it happens especially in the first act it is brutal and quickly done. A fair warning is that for some it might feel boring due to its two hour run time, but I felt glued to the screen, as there was finally a movie with characters, not just Victim A, B, C etc.
All of the characters had their own specific moment to shine, and everyone’s acting was topnotch. Except maybe Charlie Hunnam, who I was not sure if he was trying to do an Upper Class English accent, or an American doctor’s because he kept slipping in and out of the two voices throughout the movie.
Tom Hiddleston does not even need to act, he just comes off as a rich noble Englishman just by appearing on the screen, and Jessica Chastain is on her way to play a spinster in a thriller or horror movie by the age of sixty. Meanwhile Mia Wasikowska can be the forever scared, and in danger girl for all future movies.
Blood and blood, and hmm more blood
While it is true that the movie is slow, but when the horror elements appear they shine in this movie. Everything is beautifully done, yet brutal at the same time. You’ll want to look away, but the same time it is so great, the effects are simply the best. All the shots are superb, and the „haunted mansion” is beautiful even if it is soaked in blood or red clay. I was awed by the art direction, and was surprised how much care was put into the location.
Speaking of effects, the ghosts are creepy as hell, and the tension built up to each encounter between Edith and them is well paced. Nothing feels dragged out, and luckily the movie does not rely on jump scares to be scary (Which a lot of horror movies do these days). Rather than jump scares it relies on two things: Tension, and art design. The movie’s ghosts are, beautiful even if they are one of the scariest things I have seen this year. Still this is no small achievement from Guillermo del Toro, which is a bit sad since now watching Crimson Peak, his art, and costume direction would have probably revitalized the Silent Hill franchise (oh well Konami’s loss).
Del Toro also did not spare any ounce of blood to make the gore believable, and his talent really shined here, from normal human deaths, to the ghosts, everything blends into the environment. Nothing looked fake, or out of place luckily, which heightened the experience.
Ghosts are real
Speaking of not out of place or fake, the ghosts in this movie are really well done. The movie handles them well enough to not feel that they are just able to open or close a door. No, when a ghost appears the camera focus on it, shows almost in plain view, and their deathly screams go down your spine. This is what I loved the most about the movie, it was brave enough to not turn away the camera when the creatures appeared. So many movies these days while having millions of dollars at their disposal just cannot seem to get right what makes a monster scary. We either have some over the top monster, or just a person possessed and has black eyes for a change.
Del Toro knows what he is doing, and will make you remember his creations both visually and audibly.
One more please! or not?
While the director did a splendid job on all most all front (directing, visuals, sound, atmosphere), he did a few mistakes with the story. As in it is entirely cliché in a way, but still fun to watch. You can pretty much guess what’s going to happen in the rest of the movie after the first 20 minutes.
Still this probably one of my favorite horror movies this year, or all years for that matter as it tries to do something new, that was actually pretty old. You do not need shaky cams, or idiotic teenagers to make a good horror movie, all you need is someone that knows how scare people, and loves the genre with its heart. Guillermo del Toro is that kind of person, and this movie fully reflects that. We hope that it will not bomb, and that the director will be allowed to do another one of his passion projects (especially since Pacific Rim was my Mecha vs Godzilla dream).