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When her heart is stolen by a seductive stranger, a young woman is swept away to a house atop a mountain of blood-red clay— a place filled with secrets that will haunt her forever. Between desire and darkness, between mystery and madness, lies the truth behind Crimson Peak. From the imagination of director Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) comes a gothic romance masterpiece starring Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska and Charlie Hunnam.
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The story beats are perfect. They'll more than meet the expectations of fans of fiction by Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, Dorothy Eden, and Mary Stewart.
But, this story isn't locked into the "helpless woman" model of the past. Despite a very credible 19th-century setting, the women in this eerie story show strength and power, as well as normal (not gender-specific) moments of weakness. Until the very end, viewers won't be certain how the story ends, and who will survive the harsh extremes of Crimson Peak.
The art direction is spectacular. The costumes, makeup, and set design are tremendous. The casting... pure genius.
If you like Gothic romances, I think you'll love everything about this film.
For me, at least, Crimson Peak works on all those levels: eerie settings, people who keep deadly secrets and follow their flaws to the death (or at least fail to fix them in time to stop the tragedy), terrible things in beautiful, decaying settings. Anyone can see where most of the story is heading (although I didn't expect a lot of the things that happened during the last thirty minutes or so, which was a nice surprise), but it's all so solidly in character that the story works. If you're looking for a ghost story, keep walking- sure, there are ghosts, but all the horror comes from the things that the living characters have done. But if you've ever read and enjoyed anything Gothic, or you're just crazy about (very,very) flawed characters, there's a good chance you'll love this as much as I did.
**Spoilers beyond this point**
We know from the start that there's something very wrong about the Sharpes, but we still want to know what, AND we still care about Thomas Sharpe, despite the implications. The twisted relationship between the siblings, and I do actually mean the psychological one, not the physical, it remarkably well written. It's intense and raw and thoroughly disturbing. For people complaining about the incest-- it was right there in the trailer, and you missed it. It's also a common theme in this genre, one used to strengthen and further the plot of the movie. Maybe people with less familiarity with Gothics might enjoy this less. I think it'd be a fun way to get to know the genre.