All original written content is (c) 2015 Mike Pascale. Visual content is (c) its respective owners. Bru-Hed is ©2015 and a trademark of All Ages Media and Mike Pascale.
NEWBIES: If this is your first trip here (welcome!), here’s the QT on what these reviews are.
THIS WEEK: Guillermo (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth) Del Toro’s gothic horror love story: Loki falls in love with a girl who sees ghosts and takes her to live in a haunted house. Kind of.
Written by Guillermo Del Toro and Matthew Robbins. Directed by Guillermo Del Toro.
- Holy monkey crap, this thing is gorgeous to watch. The sets, the house, the spirits, the costumes, scenery, you name it, it looks awesome. Even the gross stuff has a kind of grotesque beauty to it. If you enjoyed or were impressed by the look of Pan’s Labyrinth, you shouldn’t be disappointed, even tho this doesn’t have demons and monsters.
- Great performances by the main characters. Tom Hiddleston was charmingly creepy, Mia Wasikowska (say that five times fast) was creepily innocent, and Jessica Chastain was pretty and creepy (and pretty creepy). Sons Of Anarchy fans will like seeing Charlie Hunnam in a suit.
- Excellent job on the period setting. (I initially thought it was late 1800s; turns out it was early 1900s because someone drove a Ford and those didn’t show up in Britain until 1903.) The architecture, fashions, language and all that seem really well thought-out as far as this modern dude could tell. (Even down to the customs—when Lucille finishes playing the piano, she pulls her sleeves over her knuckles because that was considered “proper” at the time. Can you imagine Myley Cyrus showing up back then?)
- As with any Del Toro flick, the special effects and creatures are superb. The ghosts are individual and scary/creepy. The opening scene and transitions tell you what you’re in for. (MIKE: Notice what side of the screen Tom Sharpe enters from.)
- Those who like love stories will also like the triangle in this one. For us guys it doesn’t overwhelm the picture so it keeps the dudes entertained too. Pacing is not quick but it’s not supposed to be; this one builds like a boil till it pops all over the screen.
- If you like blood, you’ll get plenty. And the use of the red clay (Loki’s character is a clay minor/inventor) just adds to the whole bloody atmosphere. (You highbrow academic types will enjoy picking out/on the metaphors, allegories and whatever other crap you eggheads get off on.)
- A few genuine “boo!” moments for those who like them. But a great overall sense of dread/suspense/eerieness.
- The plot twists are definitely twisted. Mysteries are good and explained. Satisfactory and logical, justifiable ending.
- Major violation of my “Blood-and-Beatings (or bullets) to Boobs-and-Butts” ratio. Reg’lar readers here know I believe for every two scenes of bloody gore/violence there must be scene with (female) nudity or semi-nudity. There are a couple damn nasty beatings/gory scenes here, with closeups, and NOT A SINGLE BARE BOOB OR BOOTY seen! WTF?! We know from Interstellar that Jessica Chastain has a rack (and she looks hotter with black hair), and the blond chick looks pretty fit, so there’s really no excuse not to see some T or A. (Not even a stuffed bra!) All we get is half of Hiddleston’s nekkid rump in a sex scene—great for gays and ladies, but there’s pro’bly more horny straight dudes in the audience.
- A couple secret plot/character elements are telegraphed in advance so I was able to figger some things out early, but not enough to bug me. Those who prefer to be surprised should still get enough for their enjoyment.
- Suspension Of Disbelief Dept.: Three instances of superhuman strength/endurance/survival. If you fall from certain heights or lose a gallon of blood there’s gonna be some pretty major issues.
- Didn’t notice any Hellboy references or other in-jokes. Sorry fanboys.
- There’s probably a bunch of historical inaccuracies but unless you’re a history teacher, you won’t notice or care.
- No button at the end, but that’s probably good because this shouldn’t be a franchise.
Every Del Toro film is a visual spectacle, full of deep color and textures and blood and weirdness and twisted relationships and Crimson Peak is no exception. Probably won’t appeal as much to the Hellboy or Pan’s Labyrinth crowd, since this is a ghost-love story rather than pure fantasy or superheroes, but I was entertained and enjoyed it. Big screen is good for the sets and ghosts, but small is better to handle the gore. Your choice. If you wait, though, some idiot could spoil the plot twists.
P.S.: How about a gory ghost or luscious lovely for your collection or a gift? Pascale will draw an original worth your while. Just ask Craig here!
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, ghosts, fanboys, gays, ladies, people named Guillermo, or manufacturers of red clay. Bru wishes women would start wearing corsets again along with push-up bras. But he would never wear a codpiece because he doesn’t eat fish.