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Guillermo del Toro
Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain
Writing Credits:
Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins

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.

Box Office:
$55 million.
Opening Weekend
$13,143,310 on 2,984 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-X
English DTS-X Headphone
Spanish DTS 5.1
French DTS 5.1
English Descriptive Video Service
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 119 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 2/9/2016

• Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director Guillermo del Toro
• Five Deleted Scenes
• “I Remember Crimson Peak” Featurettes
• “A Primer on Gothic Romance” Featurette
• “The Light and Dark of Crimson Peak” Featurette
• “Hand Tailored Gothic” Featurette
• “A Living Thing” Featurette
• “Beware of Crimson Peak” Featurette
• “Crimson Phantoms” Featurette
• Previews
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Crimson Peak [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 2, 2016)

After the massive “summer tent pole” action flick Pacific Rim in 2013, Guillermo del Toro returns to smaller scale fare with 2015’s gothic Crimson Peak. A prologue set in 1887 confronts young Edith Cushing (Sofia Wells) with the ghost of her mother, who brings the mysterious warning to “Beware of Crimson Peak”.

From there we jump to 1901 and meet Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), and English Baronet comes to America to recruit investors for an invention he created to mine clay. He seeks the support of Edith’s wealthy businessman father Carter (Jim Beaver).

Thomas doesn’t get the funds he desires, but he does meet and romance Edith (Mia Wasikowska). They marry and head to England to live on his land, a location known as “Crimson Peak”. Edith discovers the domain’s spooky secrets and why her mother offered the warning.

I must admit that I admire del Toro’s work more than I like it. I think del Toro is a bright, meticulous filmmaker with a singular vision – and yet I rarely seem to actually enjoy his movies to a substantial degree. I find a number of del Toro efforts that I think are good, but none of them really involve or excite me.

That trend continues with the fairly forgettable Crimson Peak. Some of the movie’s problems stem from its lead actress, as Wasikowska offers a dull presence. Best-known for the 2010 live-action version of Alice in Wonderland, I found Wasikowska to be unimpressive there and she doesn’t change my mind with her wholly lackluster turn in Peak. She came across as bland and without personality.

Hiddleston does better, at least, as the conflicted love interest, and Jessica Chastain manages some good moments as Thomas’s sister. Chastain has trouble with her English accent, but she makes up for those flaws in other ways. Neither can overcome the drabness of Wasikowska, though – or the equally dull Charlie Hunnam as the doctor who carries a torch for Edith.

Even with a stronger lead, Peak would falter due to its inherent absence of real scares or drama. Admittedly, I appreciate that del Toro avoids the cheap jolts and “boo moments” that appear to pass for horror these days, but he doesn’t compensate with much. Peak comes long on creepy production design and short on impact.

It probably doesn’t help that Peak tends to feel rather derivative. A lot of it comes across as a hybrid of Rebecca and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, without much identity. The film does veer off in directions of its own, so it doesn’t simply replicate those other movies, but it still seems short on personality.

I don’t think Crimson Peak ever turns into a bad movie, but it also fails to become anything especially involving. Though the film delivers del Toro’s trademark visual flair, it can’t develop into a rich, memorable story in its own right.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus B

Crimson Peak appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie delivered fine visuals.

Sharpness looked strong. Virtually no softness emerged, as the film remained tight and concise. No issues with shimmering or jaggies emerged, and I noticed no edge haloes. Print flaws also failed to appear.

Given the movie’s genre and period setting, I hoped it’d go for an unusual palette, but instead, I found the typical teal and orange. The film tossed in some amber and red as well, but orange and teal ruled the day. Those choices continue to leave me cold, but the Blu-ray reproduces them accurately. Blacks looked deep and rich, while low-light shots offered nice clarity. This became a consistently appealing presentation.

Peak came with a DTS-X soundtrack that downconverted to DTS-HD MA 7.1 on my system. With plenty of creepy scenes, the mix often opened up to give us active information. These used the various speakers to create an involving, effective sense of these situations and circumstances. The elements meshed together well and moved in a satisfying manner.

Audio quality also pleased. Music was peppy and full, while dialogue sounded accurate and concise. Effects demonstrated good clarity and range, with fine low-end response as necessary. This wasn’t quite a demo-worthy track, but it fared well.

The Blu-ray includes many extras, and these start with an audio commentary from co-writer/director Guillermo del Toro. In his running, screen-specific chat, he discusses story/character areas, themes, cast and performances, sets and production design, music, effects, elements that make this a personal tale, inspirations and influences, and genre reflections.

As I mentioned in the body of my review, I tend to respect del Toro’s movies more than I enjoy them, and this excellent commentary reminds me why I feel that way. Del Toro relates his work in such detailed, thoughtful terms that I can't help but wish I got more out of his films. In any case, del Toro offers an insightful, fascinating chat about Crimson Peak.

Five Deleted Scenes take up a total of four minutes, 26 seconds. We find “The Park” (0:59), “Thomas’ Presentation” (0:53), “Father Consoles Daughter” (0:44), “Thomas Sees a Ghost” (0:48) and “Lucille at the Piano” (1:02). As one might expect from such short clips, these don’t add much. We get a little more exposition and character tidbits, but none of these seem significant.

Under I Remember Crimson Peak, we get four short pieces. We locate “The Gothic Corridor” (4:06), “The Scullery” (4:24), “The Red Clay Mines” (5:18) and “The Limbo Fog Set” (5:42). In these, we hear from del Toro and actors Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, and Jessica Chastain. We get notes about sets and production design. Much of the information echoes thoughts found in the commentary, but behind the scenes footage adds to these clips.

A number of featurettes follow. A Primer on Gothic Romance runs five minutes, 36 seconds and includes notes from del Toro, Hiddleston, Wasikowska, Chastain and actors Charlie Hunnam and Jim Beaver. As implied by the title, “Primer” gives us a quick overview of this film’s genre. It brings a nice synopsis.

During the seven-minute, 53-second The Light and Dark of Crimson Peak, we hear from del Toro, Hunnam, Wasikowska, Chastain, Hiddleston, Beaver, set decorator Shane Vieau, costume designer Kate Hawley, and production designer Tom Sanders. “Dark” looks at the use of colors, visual design and lighting. This turns into a useful examination of those areas.

Next comes Hand Tailored Gothic. The eight-minute, 58-second shows features del Toro, Hawley, Wasikowska, Chastain, Hiddleston and producer Jon Jashni. As the title implies, “Gothic” looks at costume design. It offers another informative piece.

A Living Thing lasts 12 minutes, 11 seconds and gives us info from del Toro, Sanders, Hiddleston, Jashni, Hunnam, Vieau, producer Thomas Tull, and supervising art director Brandt Gordon, and key scenic Cameron Brooke. “Thing” examines the mansion set used in the film and brings us good insights about that subject.

With Beware of Crimson Peak, we find a seven-minute, 51-second segment with Hiddleston. The actor takes us on a tour of the mansion set. This allows us to see some details and the show expands on the info from “Living Thing”.

Finally, Crimson Phantoms goes for seven minutes, two seconds and features Chastain, del Toro, Wasikowska, Hiddleston, Hunnam, and makeup effects artist supervisors David Marti and Montse Ribe. “Phantoms” focuses on the design and execution of the film’s ghosts. As with its predecessors, it forms a tight overview.

The disc opens with ads for By the Sea, Legend, Straight Outta Compton, Steve Jobs, The Forest, Jarhead 3: The Siege and London Has Fallen. No trailer for Peak appears here.

A second disc offers a DVD copy of Peak. It includes the commentary, the deleted scenes, “Beware” and “Light and Dark”.

Guillermo del Toro displays his usual visual flair with Crimson Peak but he fails to create an interesting story or characters. This leaves us with an attractive film that lacks much drama or intrigue. The Blu-ray delivers strong picture and audio as well as an informative set of supplements. I respect the artistry of Peak but the end result leaves me cold.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.6666 Stars Number of Votes: 3
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