From the first moment I saw the trailer to the delightful interview with Tom Hiddleston in which he announced he went full-nude to redress the sexist imbalance regarding nudity in film, I have been thoroughly excited about Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak (2015). Well, it is now officially at the cinemas and I look forward to seeing it following my sojourn to the seaside this weekend. Once I have watched it, I’ll head back to the blog to give a frank review. Throughout the press tour for the film, both cast and director have been clear in stating that the movie is meant to be a Gothic romance which looks back to the early Gothic. Though the costumes and setting of the movie are Victorian, reference has been made to Radcliffe and Lewis as sources of inspiration.
The reviews of the movie are somewhat mixed. The Guardian calls it a ‘gothic fantasy-romance … [which] is outrageously sumptuous, gruesomely violent and designed to within an inch of its life’ and The Telegraph states that its ‘sombre sincerity and hypnotic, treasure-box beauty make Crimson Peak feel like a film out of time’. However, Forbes felt that the story is ‘painfully straightforward, unfortunately, telegraphed, and not terribly engrossing’ and Variety describes it as an ‘R-rated indulgence’. I can’t help noticing however that despite the differing opinions all the reviewers cited have used incredibly Gothic, eloquent and flourished language – a sure sign that the movie has affected them on some level.
Personally, I find The Hollywood Reporter’s rather ambivalent review the most satisfying especially in the following line: ‘It’s entirely likely that no previous rendition of this sort of sexually twisted, psychologically degenerative and spectrally haunted fright story has ever been served up with so much stylistic sauce as del Toro has poured onto Crimson Peak’. It is always nice to have a little debate regarding anything Gothic so, if anything, the variety of opinion is a good thing.