Although the first trailer for this movie was only released recently, I feel like I’ve been hearing about the film forever. This is arguably because I follow Jim Beaver (Bobby from Supernatural) on Twitter, and he’s part of the cast, so I’ve been seeing tweets about it all through filming.
Unfortunately, I’m going to start off by complaining. Perhaps it’ll be expanded on more in future trailers, but this particular trailer hints at a plot that looks, at best, a bit tired. Innocent girl moves into a spooky house, unaware of its family’s history; her charming wonderful husband is not what he seems, and also has a teeny bit of a weird incest vibe with his sister; there have been many mysterious deaths in the house and also there’s something off about the nursery. I don’t watch a ton of horror, but even to me these seem a little overdone in the creepy Victorian mansion subgenre of scary movies.
Looking into the story a little more (or at least what synopsis there is of the story) it seems that Edith, the main character, is an author. This may seem like a minor detail to some, but I think it actually adds a cool bit of characterization immediately. There’s something fascinating about the young female authors of bygone days, and given period sexism it was not a profession for the faint of heart. Between that and the fact that I trust Guillermo del Toro’s creative works to impress me, I’m expecting some sort of fascinating twist on or subversion of what looks like an otherwise trope-filled ghost story. It also looks like something I’d be just as happy watching with the sound off—the costumes and set designs are beautiful and complex enough that I’d probably be content just looking at them for two hours.
Crimson Peak does boast a cast list as impressive as it is white. I just recently watched Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska play ennui-laden vampires in the weird and fascinating Only Lovers Left Alive, and I’m excited to see them together again in this. Jessica Chastain and Charlie Hunnam are also welcome additions to the cast. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Chastain play a sinister character before (or a brunette, for that matter), and it’ll be fun—and weird—watching Hunnam play not-Raleigh-Beckett.
As the movie is a period piece, I think it’s safe to expect that we’ll see no or nearly no characters of color, and certainly no LGBTQ+ characters (despite the fact that both did exist before the modern day). This is especially sad considering the diversity present in both of the most recent del Toro films I’ve seen (Pacific Rim and The Book of Life).
My constant refrain whenever I review anything related to horror here is that, well, I’m a scaredy-cat. I don’t watch it, or at least I do so rarely. This movie piques my interest more because I’m interested in the creative team than in the story itself, and I may see it just on their merit. I guess I’ll have to wait for the next few trailers before I make up my mind.