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October 30th, 2015

Movie Review - Crimson Peak

(Hubby has a cutover so Movie Friday is out this week...luckily I saw 3 movies last week! Woot!)


Crimson Peak



Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam, Jim Beaver, Burn Gorman, Leslie Hope, Doug Jones, Jonathan Hyde, Bruce Gray, Emily Coutts, and more.


Directed by: Guillermo del Toro Written by: Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins Cinematography by: Dan Laustsen Music by: Fernando Velázquez


Premise: Edith knows ghosts exist. But aside from a warning from her dead mother to beware Crimson Peak when Edith was a child, she's not had much to do with the supernatural. But when she meets Thomas Sharpe, an earl from England, she receives a second warning, but still doesn't understand to what it pertains. Will she be able to decipher the warning before it's too late? (Rated R)

Review:


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Loved Jim Beaver as the overprotective, self made, American tycoon. Mia Wasikowska was perfect for the modernized, idealistic, yet still naive/inexperienced Edith Cushing. Tom Hiddleston was very suave as Thomas Sharpe. Jessica Chastain gave the story plenty of edgy and oily subtext. Nice!


2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: The special effects teams came up with a lot of lovely items for the film. From the semi-opaque ghosts to the recently deceased, they did some really nice work. The bathhouse scene was graphic, shocking, and nicely detailed.


The rickety elevator and the workings of the different sized digging contraptions were great. Add in the slow hints of the snow absorbing the clay's reddish color, then culminating it in a gorgeous scene as the whole mountain changes, gave a lovely visual for what is going on inside the house.


The house itself is marvelous! Half rotted, half maintained, it screams of the state of those who live there and those who are still there.


3) Story - Thumbs Up: If you like slasher films, this movie is not for you. Crimson Peak is a combination of creepy Victorian  Hammer film like horror and murder mystery rather than a slash/fright fest with mounting body counts and creative new ways to kill. The fun in this film is knowing things will get bad, seeing how they're going to get there, and then going along for the ride as the events unfold. Like any good Victorian drama, it builds over time.


That being said, the who is pretty obvious right away, but the details and some of the subtext do keep it interesting. The ghosts just add to the excitement and anticipation. (Though the previews hinted at other supernatural happenings being connected/wrapped up in the reason for the murders, there aren't any. A little disappointing...)


The only major let down was a contrivance (or outright visual lie) of a reveal shown to the audience in the bathhouse scene which is not actually true. I can only assume they did it to curtail any sympathy the audience might be feeling for one of the characters and to keep hidden the true force behind certain decisions. And while it worked in that capacity up front, it also leaves you with a sour taste when the scene is replayed later and the true culprit shown. (Also, Edith turning weird at the autopsy room didn't entirely jyve with the young and 'modern' woman she was portrayed to be.)


The house is a character in the film all its own, used several ways to symbolize the souls of those who live there and the horrors it has witnessed. There are several interesting dichotomies between the characters as well, so kudos for that.


4) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: Filmed in Dundurn Castle, Casa Loma, and Victoria College as well as other locations in Canada, the film crew had some awesome places to pull from for the different homes of the American rich as well as for Crimson Peak itself.


Panned back views of the grounds and that first initial introduction to the house were done exceptionally well. Between the locations and how we're shown them, a nice sublayer of story and symbolism were skillfully incorporated into the whole.


5) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: As the house was used to give visual subtext and story, so were the costumes and makeup. A lot of subtle touches in the clothes used worked to elevate Edith from young modern girl to white innocence and purity clashing in direct contrast with Lucille's almost opposite dispositions - Edith as a conduit of love, future, hope and Lucille's stiffness, always looking to the past, and shrivelling ever deeper into the darkness.


Their work with the special effects department for a scene close to the end with Thomas was so well done it will make you cringe to see it. :P


Conclusion: If you enjoyed The Woman in Black, you will probably like Crimson Peak. It's an old fashioned murder mystery with ghosts added for extra flavor. The ghosts and house look fabulous in IMAX.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic
www.gloriaoliver.com

Novels


JEWEL OF THE GODS

(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!


Excerpt:
"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."





INNER DEMONS

(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!


Excerpt:
The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."



THE PRICE OF MERCY

(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Excerpt:

Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.




CROSS-EYED DRAGON TROUBLES
(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”

Excerpt:

“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.



WILLING SACRIFICE
(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”

Excerpt:

Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”



IN THE SERVICE OF SAMURAI
(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”

Excerpt:

Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.



VASSAL OF EL
(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”

Excerpt:

Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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