Many scary movies don't really do it for me, I find they often lack a quality storyline in favour of trying to scare you for fear's sake, or I end up hiding behind my hands like the wimp that I am. Crimson Peak however, while it certainly made me jump, wasn't so scary that I couldn't watch, and the plot was intriguing enough to hook me in.
Some of the scariest moments of the film come as we meet our heroine Edith Cushing (Wasikowska), an intelligent, independent, aspiring horror writer who tells us very matter-of-factly that ghosts are real, and in her world, they are. We have our first ghostly encounter of the movie early on and it's a spine-tingling, truly terrifying one, but as the film progresses, they are never as scary again as we come to realise that it's the people in Crimson Peak that really deserve to be feared. The human horror is sometimes way more effective than the paranormal.
The story begins in America as Edith and her father meet a tall, dark and handsome stranger, Thomas Sharpe (Hiddleston), a land-owner and wannabe engineer from England who needs investors to bankroll his latest project. In the meantime of course, while trying to impress Edith's father and convince him to part with some cash, Thomas and Edith strike up a romance and she is whisked away to his home in England, which is known locally as Crimson Peak.
While the storyline is enjoyable until this point, things really kick off once they arrive in England and it goes to show that, if you live in a creepy looking house, creepy things are going to start happening.
It's no surprise that del Toro's sets are one of the highlights of the film – it's the haunted house to end all haunted houses – but it's the performances and character development that Crimson Peak will be remembered for.
Wasikowska is superb as the ingénue, she is so much more than your average damsel in distress and you can relate to the many facets of her character. Hiddleston's role was originally set for Benedict Cumberbatch but when he stepped down, del Toro worked with Hiddleston to make the part more suited to him, and he could not have been a better villain.
Its Jessica Chastain however that steals the show – I never knew she could be so terrifying. She plays Thomas' deranged sister Lucille with such menace and intensity that you can't take your eyes off her.
Charlie Hunnam's role on the other hand could've been given a bit more depth and there's nothing memorable there. His good guy, Mr. Right appeal isn't ever enough to compete with Hiddleston's misunderstood and mysterious persona and I never found myself rooting for him, even as things started to fall apart for Edith.
It's good to have a genuinely enjoyable scary movie to watch around Halloween and I can see Crimson Peak becoming a staple.