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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Supernatural > Demonic Possession > Mystery > Gothic > Drama > Crimson Peak (2015/Legendary/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)

Crimson Peak (2015/Legendary/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)

Picture: A-/B Sound: A/B Extras: B+ Film: A-

Guillermo Del Toro's newest film, Crimson Peak (2015), deserved a lot more praise and attention then it got back in October during its theatrical release. In the spirit of Hammer Films (one main character even has the last name of Cushing), Crimson Peak is despicably gothic romance that boasts Del Toro's extraordinary attention to detail in terms of filmmaking (most importantly in the categories of cinematography and production design) and an impressive cast that features Tom Hiddleson, Mia Wasikowska, Charlie Hunnam and Jessica Chastain.

After marrying the charming and seductive Sir Thomas Sharpe, young Edith (Mia Wasikowska) finds herself swept away to his remote gothic mansion in the English hills. Also living there is Lady Lucille, Thomas' alluring sister and protector of her family's dark secrets. Able to communicate with the dead, Edith tries to decipher the mystery behind the ghostly visions that haunt her new home. As she comes closer to the truth, Edith may learn that true monsters are made of flesh and blood.

This is the type of film that Tim Burton should make again: an intelligent R-rated and gory ''adult'' horror film. There are some similarities to this film and Burton's Sleepy Hollow in that both films are period pieces centered around a supernatural force that both keep the spirit of Hammer alive and both are extremely gothic with rich color palettes. Both films also center around a mystery with manipulative and secretive characters, another trait that keeps the story interesting. The performances in the film are also strong with Jessica Chastain nailing the villainous role of Lady Lucille Sharpe that should have earned her Oscar attention.

Presented in beautiful 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 (shot with the Arri Alexa XT HD camera) and several great audio options including DTS X (reviewed here as a core DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 lossless mix) and DTS Headphone: X, this film pushes the boundaries of the Blu-ray format with an exceptional presentation. Also included is the standard definition anamorphically enhanced presentation on DVD with a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 track that is not bad for the format (though weak vs. the Blu-ray, of course) and a digital UltraViolet Copy of the film.

The Special Features are many and include...

- A Feature-Length Audio Commentary with co-writer and Director Guillermo Del Toro

- Deleted Scenes

- The Light and Dark of Crimson Peak - Crimson Peak offers a stylized turn of the century with carefully crafted visuals that provide the perfect backdrop for Del Toro's brand of psychological horror. Follow the phases of production to discover a booming America and a dark and removed England portrayed with a multi-layered sophistication unlike any seen in recent cinema.

- Beware Of Crimson Peak - Tom Hiddleston (Sir Thomas Sharpe) offers a walking tour of the many secret spaces in Allerdale Hall.

- I Remember Crimson Peak - A series of interviews with director Guillermo del Toro and his standout cast, Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain.

- A Living Thing - An army of artisans was amassed to construct the Sharpe mansion on North America's largest soundstage. Witness first-hand and in great detail the construction of Del Toro's most elaborate set to date.

- A Primer on Gothic Romance - Employing his encyclopedic knowledge and passion for the genre, Guillermo del Toro traces the lineage of Gothic Romance in cinema. Using Crimson Peak as the basis, Del Toro outlines the history of cinematic terror and illuminates the differences between traditional scares and elevated horror.

- Crimson Phantoms - Del Toro's approach to make-up effects is discussed by award-winning effects house DDT. In this piece, they offer an exclusive look inside their workshop, where they deconstruct the creation of the film's most disturbing prosthetic effects. The discussion delves into the mythology of these elegant creatures and how Del Toro's belief in the supernatural informed the design and narrative of the ghosts.

- Hand Tailored Gothic - Costume designer Kate Hawley unravels her collaboration with Del Toro and reveals the symbolism constantly at play in the wardrobe's design.

Though it may not have broke box office records and may not be quite as mind blowing as Del Toro's remarkable Pan's Labyrinth, Crimson Peak is one of my favorite films of the year and certainly one that I will keep in my collection and continue to watch for years to come. If you are a fan of period set horror films or are perhaps into ghost stories or gothic visuals, then you can't get much better than this. Here's hoping that Del Toro's HP Lovecraft-inspired film gets made!

- James Lockhart



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