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Guillermo Del Toro has been responsible for some of my all time favorite films. Del Toro’s eye for detail and imagination makes him a creative juggernaut. As with every installment from Del Toro, it is exciting to imagine the possible slew of new and innovative terrifying monsters and exotic settings. The man who created the stunning Pan’s Labyrinth, and gave Hellboy a vibrant and wonderful universe to play in has hit the big screen again with Crimson Peak, a ghost story which promises quite a bit from the trailer:
Looks pretty awesome, doesn’t it? The huge dark horse smash hit of 2013, Pacific Rim, showed Del Toro’s range and ability to create a big time Hollywood movie without compromising his integrity and genius. However, the man who pitted Hellboy against the Golden Army fell a bit flat on his latest effort.
Crimson Peak stars Mia Wasikowska who plays Edith; a doe eyed Victorian debutante growing up in Baltimore who falls in love with an English gentleman, Thomas, played by Loki. Edith leaves her home to go live in a run down haunted dump of a mansion with a giant hole in the roof. Even though she is a rich kid with tons of money, she doesn’t throw one fit about the state of the house and just rolls with almost freezing to death every night while ghosts try to haunt her. I can’t really give away any spoilers here because the movie is pretty predictable. It is also fairly easy to figure out who the good and bad guys are in this film (hint: Bad guys have English accents, good guys have American accents; just like in almost every movie… ever) After discovering the evil plot against her, Edith is ‘rescued’ by Jax Teller who also finds himself in quite a lot of trouble, and I’m not talking about his horrible American accent.
The strongest attribute to Del Toro’s films is that he puts vulnerable and hopeless heroes up against near impossible odds, and we get to watch them develop and grow strong enough to overcome whatever stands in their way. This was surely attempted in Crimson Peak as well, but the villains were lack luster enough to make me think that just about anyone would be able to defeat them. This removes pretty much any sense of foreboding or dread; two things that every scary story needs. To make up for these shortcomings, all the film had to do was up the ante on the effects and settings. While the film had a lot of stunning shots of the house and it surroundings, most everything in the film was shameless CGI effects. CGI worked great in Pacific Rim because it had to, you can not build a giant robot for a film, but would it kill anyone to use some foam rubber and latex these days?
Pictured: Nightmare fuel from Pan’s Labyrinth (top) and Hellboy 2, The Golden Army (above)
The costumes are fantastic and the lighting and color do a great job setting a good feel for the film. It is just that the story and imagination don’t meet the Del Toro standard. The plot did not really work that well and a lot of the characters did not make sense. There were also some subjects that were brought up and explained that had nothing to do with the film at all. I am a huge fan of Del Toro’s films and I have to say that I was kind of disappointed with this one. I was really looking forward to a fresh and imaginative film with a cool atmosphere that I could get lost in, but what I got was just another generic ghost story.
Born and raised in San Diego California, I grew up loving the action horror and sci-fi genres. The first R rated film I saw was Predator back when I was 8 years old. Aliens blew me away as a youngster and I made a M41-A pulse rifle out of paper towel rolls and rubber bands. I ran around for hours avoiding face huggers and blasting xenomorphs in my back yard and I am bringing that big imagination to Nevermore Horror.