'Crimson Peak: Special Edition'
(Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (2015) 2018 / Arrow Films UK)
Overview: In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds - and remembers.
Blu-ray Verdict: From the imagination of Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, The Shape of Water) comes Crimson Peak, a lavish, stunningly realized journey into the dark heart of Gothic romance.
In truth, and for my money, 'Crimson Peak' has much to recommend it. Its cast is spot on, its costume design and set are beautiful and spooky and the story itself doesn't really go for the cheap thrills that most horror today goes for; and I appreciate that.
Mia Wasikowska and Tom Hiddleston have a fantastic chemistry and you readily fall in love with the love story they present you, but the real jewel of the film is Jessica Chastain.
There's something unnerving every time she appears on screen that only adds to the drama unfolding between the web of on screen relationships.
As soon as she walks on screen you know something wicked this way comes. Her piercing glare and overall sense of distaste for the other characters really unease's you in the most fun way. You can see little to no sympathy in her face and you cannot wait to see just where she'll go with it.
The story starts off as pleasantly as any period piece and you wonder what the ghouls and ghosts are up to, and whether they are in cahoots with Hiddleston and Chastain.
Unfortunately by the second half, the movie loses some of its spook and becomes somewhat predictable in plot, but because of this you will be able to watch it over and over again without ever really getting bored.
This is because the horror isn't the selling point of the story, the heart of the characters are. And each character has more heart than they could possibly know what to do with.
The acting is superb and although this story has been told in one way or another, you still root for a positive outcome. But, and once again, the strongest aspect of 'Crimson Peak' is the visual spectacle you're given. Whether it's the costume design, special effects, or the sets themselves, this film is gorgeous.
Oh, and lest we forget the house itself, most probably the stand out "character" of all here. There is a huge gaping whole in the middle of the house where the roof collapsed, leaving the foyer open to the elements. The foyer is surrounded with massive staircase leading to different parts of the house.
There is also and old metal elevator running through the house and into the bowels of the clay mine which is situated right underneath the house. The red glow of the clay makes it look like the way to hell itself.
The basement, where the clay is stored, is an interesting space with dome like ceiling where the light and snow falls into the room. During the winter months the whole estate is covered in snow.
The grounds around the house however turn red, when the snow falls on the red clay. It looks like the house is bleeding and the blood is seeping out of its deep wounds.
Guillermo del Toro creates yet another masterpiece of film. I fully enjoyed it and I hope you do too. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original 5.1 and 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and optional English 2.0 DTS Headphone:X Audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Optional Descriptive Video Service® (DVS®) for the visually impaired
Audio commentary by co-writer and director Guillermo Del Toro
The House is Alive: Constructing Crimson Peak, a newly edited, feature-length documentary with cast and crew interviews and extensive behind the scenes footage
Previously unseen Spanish language interview with Guillermo Del Toro
The Gothic Corridor, The Scullery, The Red Clay Mines, The Limbo Fog Set; four featurettes exploring different aspects of Allerdale Hall
A Primer on Gothic Romance, the director and stars talk about the key traits of Gothic romance
The Light and Dark of Crimson Peak, the cast and crew talk about the film's use of color
Hand Tailored Gothic, a featurette on the film s striking costumes
A Living Thing, a look at the design, modelling and construction of the Allerdale Hall sets
Beware of Crimson Peak, a walking tour around Allerdale Hall with Tom Hiddleston
Crimson Phantoms, a featurette on the film's amazing ghosts
Kim Newman on Crimson Peak and the Tradition of Gothic Romance, a newly filmed interview with author and critic
Violence and Beauty in Guillermo Del Toro's Gothic Fairy Tale Films, a new video essay by the writer Kat Ellinger
Original trailers and TV spots
Double-sided, fold-out poster
Six double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproductions
Limited Edition packaging newly designed by Crimson Peak concept artist Guy Davis
Limited edition 80-page, hard-bound book featuring new writing by David Jenkins and Simon Abrams, an archival interview with Guillermo del Toro, and original conceptual design illustrations by artists Guy Davis and Oscar Chichoni