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By Megan Bianco
The most hyped horror movie of the month and of the year is Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak. Three years in the making, the gothic horror flick is one targeted at a specific audience that appreciates an era of horror where scary monsters and melodrama blend together.
Del Toro’s latest Hollywood blockbuster takes cues from all sorts of inspiration, from Hitchcock’s Rebecca (1940) to Kubrick’s The Shining (1980), and is led by popular character actors Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain and Tom Hiddleston.
In 1831 Buffalo, New York, aspiring novelist Edith Cushing (Wasikowska) begins a relationship with English heir/entrepreneur, Thomas Sharpe (Hiddleston). Thomas is new in town and hoping to expand his clay mining machine with his sister and partner, Lucille (Chastain), attached to his hip. Soon he proposes to Edith and convinces her to move back to his family’s estate, which is full of eeriness and mystery, along with the Sharpes’ own secrets.
Charlie Hunnam co-stars as Edith’s best friend and local doctor. Despite his success with Hellboy (2004) and Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), Del Toro hasn’t really found a market in the U.S. with his films, and with Crimson Peak he might have stopped trying. Peak has vibrant costumes and set design but also graphic gore and ghosts, mixing targeted audiences. Even with the spooky effects, it’s less about shocking the viewer or blowing minds and more about paying homage to a cult genre. Movie fans who enjoy Coppola’s Dracula (1992) or Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow (1999) will like Crimson Peak best.