Crimson Peak

October 18, 2015 - Jane Eyre meets Flowers in the Attic in this Gothic horror film from writer/director Guillermo del Toro. Mia Wasikowska, who played Jane Eyre in a 2011 film adaptation, has the lead here. The supporting cast includes Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston and Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy).

Wasikowska plays Edith Cushing, an American girl who comes of age in late 19th century Buffalo, New York. One of the first things we learn about Edith is that she sees ghosts. Specifically, she sees the ghost of her mother, who died from cholera when Edith was a girl. Shortly after the funeral, her ghost warns little Edith to beware of crimson peak. Edith has no idea what that means.

She finds out what it means about 10 years later, when she marries Sir Thomas Sharpe (Hiddleston) and moves into his family's falling-down, sinking-down homestead in England. The inheritance that came Edith's way after the violent death of her father will come in handy as Thomas perfects a machine he designed to mine the valuable red clay that lies underneath the estate. When winter comes, that clay bleeds through the surface, creating an effect known as crimson peak. Without going further into the plot, let's just say that Edith should have heeded her mother's warning.

Overall review: ** I wanted to like this film, and honestly, it's not terrible. But, I didn't find it particularly scary. In fact, it felt derivative. And, like a lot of horror films, it leaves me asking a lot of questions. Namely, when Edith first walked in to her new home, why didn't she just turn right around and walk out?