Thursday, 22 October 2015


A grand Gothic fantasy is truncated in Guillermo del Toro's odd little wannabe Crimson Peak. It boasts both the design and the ambition of del Toro's magnum opus, a classic horror film like those it lovingly imitates, yet is stymied by a peculiar lack of depth and development. Nothing in this film is allowed to stew for long enough to truly boil over, and its rabid hurry from one half-hearted scene to the next is thus defined by its hollowness. That's a particular shame given that this particular filmmaker is normally prone to guard against such a claim, but Crimson Peak's fantasy bears closer structural resemblance to throwaway indie horror movies than to del Toro's past entries in the genre. The plainness of the story, the crudeness of the dialogue and the predictability of the whole thing sit at odds not only with the viewer's expectations but also with the film's own achievements - it's ravishingly beautiful, with a rich and varied colour palette meeting with del Toro's theatrical approach to spatial dynamics and atmosphere to produce an experience that's almost overwhelming in its excess. You can tell where all the effort, and all the money, went. And yet to such measly ends, as overeager editing saps the portent out of perhaps every scene, and overcooked sound design spoils the horror - that which, in a horror movie, ought to be the most salient selling point. Crimson Peak is wholly overworked, yet underdone. It bears the sensation of the work of a great artist whose vision was not trusted by his cruel financiers; Universal sank $55 million into this film, which leads one to wonder how the bloody hell this all went so wrong?