Crimson Peak Blu-ray Review
Written by Steve Pattee
Blu-ray released by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Written by Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins
2015, 119 minutes, Rated R
Blu-ray released on February 9th, 2016
Mia Wasikowska as Edith Cushing
Jessica Chastain as Lucille Sharpe
Tom Hiddleston as Thomas Sharpe
Charlie Hunnam as Dr. Alan McMichael
Jim Beaver as Carter Cushing
Burn Gorman as Holly
My love of Guillermo del Toro films is not unlike the enjoyment I get out of Dario Argento movies. It's all about the visual and not so much the story. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying del Toro is a bad director by any stretch. Hell, Mimic has no business being as good as it is, and I give all the credit to him for that. But at the end of the day, for many of his films (like Argento's, if you can look at it objectively), the story is pretty basic but the end result is beautiful, and Crimson Peak is no exception.
Crimson Peak follows Edith (played wonderfully by Mia Wasikowska), a woman who wants nothing more to be a writer in the 1800s (good luck with that, missy!). She meets and is quickly attracted to Thomas (Tom Hiddleston), but he is up to no good as Edith's father, Carter (Jim Beaver, Supernatural), soon discovers, so poppa sends Thomas and his sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain) packing. That doesn't last long, however, because someone murders Carter and Thomas's shoulder is there for Edith to cry on. Of course they get married, of course they move to Thomas and Lucille's childhood home, of course Edith discovers some dark secrets in the house, and of course things go bad from there. Because that's how horror movies work.
Don't get me wrong, I realize that last line looks quite cynical, but Crimson Peak really is basic on plot. If you are a horror fan (which I have to assume you are if you are reading this), you know how this film is going to play out from beginning to end. However, if you are a Guillermo del Toro fan, you know that it's going to be gorgeous and you won't be disappointed.
Crimson Peak is a visual experience. Where it lacks in depth of story, it more than makes up for genuine creepy moments and breathtaking set design. The ghosts that Edith can see (did I mention she can see ghosts? She can.) are both terrifying and beautiful. You want to turn away from them, but you're also intent on studying every crevice of their design. I'm not a fan of Gothic romances (which Crimson Peak is at its very core), but hot damn would I watch every one directed by del Toro-as long as there is a supernatural element, of course.
Because of its solid cast, it's really no surprise that there is not a disappointing performance in the bunch. And I have to admit, I gave a silent cheer when I saw Jim Beaver show up on the screen. I'm a huge fan of his character on Supernatural, and in turn a fan of the actor, and it seems like I'm seeing him turn up in more and more things. There's something immensely likeable about him, and he never fails to bring that to the character he's portraying. In the case of Crimson Peak, it makes Carter's death that much more disturbing.
At the end of the day, I'll put this one along with films like Suspiria. It's beautiful to watch, but don't go digging for any sort of deeper meaning.
Video and Audio:
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, it would have been tragic for anything less than a stellar display. Fortunately, a stellar display is what we get. There are two distinct color styles going on – warm and rich for the scenes in New York and cold and stark for the scenes in England – and it all looks terrific. With the time in effort that clearly went into the set design, there is plenty of fine object detail that pops, and the ghosts are exceptionally detailed.
The audio fairs as well as the video. While the disc includes the new DTS: X as an option, I went with the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 as I'm not yet fortunate enough to have a receiver capable of DTS:X. However, the 7.1 sounds fantastic, and considering this a haunting, the surrounds get a nice work out.
- I Remember Crimson Peak
- A Primer on Gothic Romance
- Hand Tailored Gothic
- A Living Thing
- Crimson Phantoms
- Deleted Scenes
- Beware of Crimson Peak
- The Light and Dark of Crimson Peak
- Feature with Co-Writer/Director Guillermo del Toro
At first glance, this disc appears to be loaded with features, but only one of those featurettes up there, "A Living Thing", is over 10 minutes (and even then, it's just over 12). However, it should be noted that these are all well worth the watch because they aren't your typical fluff. There is something to be gleaned from each of them, from the history of the Gothic romance genre to costume design, the sets, and so much more, including little Easter eggs from the movie. Also, the "I Remember Crimson Peak" piece actually consists of four featurettes totaling just under 20 minutes.
If those weren't enough, the commentary with del Toro is an absolute must listen. This is what all commentaries should be, as he discusses all aspects of the movie without getting two technical and avoiding the traps of over praising the actors or explaining what's going on on screen. I can't stress enough how enjoyable this commentary is.
Wrapping it up are five deleted scenes running about a minute apiece.