Thursday, 5 November 2015

Crimson Peak (film)

This week I have written four articles for the Tom Burke Magazine, and managed to get two threads running on my blog, which is something of a miracle, because whilst I can use a computer to type, and use various work related packages, I am not a computer expert! I therefore treated myself to a sneaky rendezvous with Tom Hiddleston in an afternoon showing of Crimson Peak. I had heard it was really scary, but I am a fan of anything gothic, so it didn't worry me about going on my own. I didn't realise it would be a private viewing though, I've never had an entire cinema screen to myself before!

I must say I really enjoyed the film, but I think that was because I loved the costumes and I really wanted to live in the house, (although I would have needed to get the roof fixed!!!!) As the film neared its end however, I found myself shuffling in my seat thinking, "well things are starting to get a little bit silly now!" This was a shame, because the ending seemed to be rushed and just an excuse to spill as much blood as possible.

The story starts in America when aspiring writer, Edith Cushing has just finished her first novel. She is not taken too seriously by her contemporaries, they mock her for being a spinsterish Jane Austen, and the film does seem to be a mix of Austen like love and dark romance, edged with Edgar Allen Poe's disturbing gothic horror.

Edith is swept off her feet by Sir Thomas Sharpe, a character that her father doesn't trust. Sharpe is looking for funding for a revolutionary machine he has invented to mine the red clay from his estate. Whilst the potential investors are unimpressed by his presentation, Edith falls for his charms and she moves from stylish USA to a disintegrating gothic mansion in the middle of wild, windswept UK moorland.

Once in the house we are treated to a dark, crumbling pile, which requires a vast amount of work to make the place habitable. You can imagine immediately how bone numbingly cold the place must be, and in the darkness the mind can play tricks on you, so no wonder Edith is permanently alarmed by images of ghosts making contact with her. The scene is set for the house to reveal the true horrors it has witnessed over the years, there is even a Dorian Grey style painting of "Mother" looking down disapprovingly from the walls, echoing that all is not right at this house and dark secrets must be unearthed.

The film has some outstanding cinematic images, and whilst I can understand people being scared during the film, it has been proven on several occasions that I don't scare easily, so for me it was just pure visual entertainment. This isn't simply a gratuitous blood and gore movie, but be warned you will see a lot of blood, literal and figurative. Blood seeps from the open wounds of both human forms and broken skeletal bodies haunting the heroine of the story; it rises from the floorboards (the house is sinking into gooey blood red liquid clay) and is even reflected through the vivid red dress of Lucille, Sharpe's contemptuous sister.

Overall the film has the main elements that you would expect from a gothic horror, a haunted house, extravagant costumes, ornately macabre sets giving an uneasy and atmospheric feel to the movie, and some shocking violence. The film isn't ground breaking in any way, shape or form, in fact at times it reminded me of Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, but it is enjoyable, especially if you are a fan of the genre.

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