I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Gothic Sensibilities of Crimson Peak

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
When I first heard about Crimson Peak I was so excited to watch it - a new take on the Gothic genre, starring Mia Wasikowska and Tom Hiddleston?? Perfection.  But when I heard about Guillermo del Toro helming it, I was a little afraid.  I think he has a truly remarkable talent and imagination, but after seeing Pan's Labyrinth, I wasn't sure I could take the graphic visuals.  So I had to wait until I could watch it at home, with the comfort of many layers of blankets.  And actually it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be!

I had read that del Toro took inspiration from many Gothic novels including Jane Eyre, so that really piqued my interest of course, and it was delightful that an important dialogue was used from Jane Eyre for the proposal scene.  The blooming romance between Edith Cushing and Sir Thomas Sharpe suited me perfectly in this film - it was of the kind that I will always swoon over.  Especially with Sir Thomas - he prefers her to the other stuck-up society women, he sees and recognizes her talent as a writer, he's just generally charming and smooth ... and handsome.  A good Gothic story blends romance with the aspects of horror and suspense and the romance in this film was very strong.

I'm a little uncertain of my feelings for the horror aspect though.  I liked that there is such a strong supernatural influence, which gives the film it's very eerie atmosphere and this film is just dripping with atmosphere.  So much so, that the actual visuals almost seem a letdown which was odd for me.  I would think I'd be happy to not be as creeped out at seeing what was actually lurking around the corner.  But somehow, I felt like the ghosts just didn't creep me out.  Perhaps it was knowing that they were not the real threat and they were just an indication that something was wrong about the house.  But I do wonder if less would have been more, and if we had more of just hints of something lurking, I would have felt the horror aspect more keenly.

The look of the film was simply gorgeous though.  Very decadent and decayed and sinister with all that red clay that just seeped in everywhere.  The story itself too is a typical Gothic melodrama - full of darkness and secrets.  I will say that with Gothic novels I always feel that there is a bit of redemption factored in, and in this, I felt like it was a little lacking or maybe overshadowed by the events in the end.  It left me feeling disconnected and sort of "Well, that's that then."  I don't want to go too much into detail for fear of spoilers, but I suppose I felt a little unhappy with the resolution for some of the characters.

Overall though, I think this is a gorgeous film - one that you should probably not watch alone, because it is disturbing in a subtle emotional way and you might want the comfort of humans nearby when you finish the film.

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