What Jenny's Reading

{November 9, 2015}   What Jenny’s Watching: Movie Review: Crimson Peak

Surprise!  Twice in the same day!  Unless, of course, I’m on the wrong time zone and it says I’m posting this on Monday.  But it’s Sunday where I am!

I’ve really only ever done one other movie review, way back years ago when I first started this blog.  They’re difficult, because unless I do older movies that are already out for downloading, I have to remember everything I want to say while I’m in the theater, and that’s just not practical.

Of course, it’s different if you think the movie is stupid.  I had a lot of thoughts about this one! Suffice to say, spoilers abound, so if you haven’t seen it and are planning to stop reading here!

I went to see the movie in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday, and myself and my friend were the only people in the theater. Literally. It was kind of cool, till they turned off the previews and we had to listen to music and go ask them to turn the movie back on. In retrospect, I think they were trying to tell us to watch anything but this movie.

The review is more detailed than I anticipated, because I remember more about this movie than I thought I would. Why is it always stupid things you (I) remember?

1. Okay, I can get into this. Cool, gothic romance? Ghosts?
2. Er…what the fuck is happening with these ghosts? Why does her mom look so creepy?
3. “Beware of Crimson Peak” like thanks Ghost Mom, that was maybe the least helpful warning in the history of the world.
4. We meet our grown up protagonist, Edith, as she’s attempting to sell her novel to a publisher. Jax happens to be there too, because he’s setting up a doctor practice in the same building. He is clearly in love with Edith, who maybe likes him but also maybe just wants to be friends, and that’s cool. I get the feeling they grew up together.
5. And we also meet Jax’s mom, who is a bitch. That’s her entire character. She and a bunch of other ladies are chatting about some “Baronet” who apparently thinks Jax’s sister is pretty. Edith is bitchy about the guy’s title, saying he steals from others. Well, she’s not wrong.
6. What the fuck is a baronet, you are wondering, I am sure. According to Wikipedia, it’s a low level nobleman between a Baron and a Knight. They’re usually called Sir, not Lord. The more you know, and all.
7. Jax’s mother is all, well maybe you’ll be like Jane Austen, who died a spinster. Hilariously, Edith says she’d rather be like Mary Shelley, who died a widow. She gives Jax a pretty significant look as she walks away, like do you plan on marrying Jax and murdering him, Edith? Is that the movie’s plot?
8. Publisher wants to include a love story. He calls it a ghost story, but Edith says that it’s a story with a ghost in it, not a ghost story. The ghosts are metaphors. Maybe like this movie?
9. Anyway. She has dinner with her dad and – WAIT A MINUTE. BOBBY? Yes, that’s Bobby! Hi Bobby! You clean up really nice!
10. Bobby is, of course, totally sweet with her, because Bobby is awesome in all incarnations, and gives her a pen as a gift. Edith sort of trashes the gift, saying her handwriting is too feminine so she’ll type up her novel and pretend to be a man.
11. Edith is a little insufferable.
12. I always knew that if Bobby had a daughter, he’d be the totally overprotective and supportive daddy.
13. Now we meet Thomas Sharpe, Baronet, the next day at Bobby’s office. Bobby is an industrialist, and Thomas is I guess looking for venture capital for a fancy machine. Thomas and Edith meet cute and Thomas says he likes her novel, although he’s only been able to sneak a peek at like a few paragraphs so clearly he’s embellishing.
14. Bobby is…not pleased. Like, he doesn’t like Thomas at all.
15. Thomas gives his presentation and Bobby shits all over it, saying he doesn’t like it and knows he’s been to London, Paris, and Edinburgh looking for funding before. He says no, but sadly does not call Thomas an “idjit”. Edith has snuck in to watch, but not so much “sneaking” as “opening a door and walking in.”
16. Now it’s a big party at Jax’s mother’s house, and Edith’s being a wet blanket and doesn’t want to go. Bobby and Jax leave and she goes upstairs. Her mom’s ghost comes after her again, like holy cats Ghost Mom, maybe be less startling? Think you’re going to earn any trust by scaring your kid with that creepy skull face?
17. She repeats the Crimson Peak warning from earlier, and Edith is terrified. A servant comes in and says that Thomas is there to speak with her, and she goes down. He convinces her to go to the party, but it’s not that hard because holy cats creepy Ghost Mom!
18. The party is hoppin’, which is to say everyone’s standing about stiffly while watching a weirdly intense girl playing the piano. Wow, fun really hadn’t been invented yet, right?
19. Edith and Thomas cause a bit of a stir when they arrive, and Bobby’s impressed, but probably because Edith’s actually out in a social situation.
20. Jax’s mother is bitchy, again, but forget all about her because we’re literally never going to see her or his nonentity sister again.
21. The weirdly intense piano player is Thomas’s sister, Lucille.
22. Thomas asks Edith to dance a waltz, because he wants to show off his fancy European waltzing skills, and blathers a bunch about how a waltz should be fast enough but delicate enough that a candle wouldn’t blow out if they were holding it. They whirl a bunch, and I wonder how many times that candle went out while they were filming.
23. So Thomas and Edith start dating, or courting or whatever they called it back then, and she lets him read her novel. They go to the park one day, and Thomas and creepily intense sister Lucille have a chat about how he wasn’t supposed to pick her. He wants “the ring” and they natter about selling it or buying something with it. It’s a huge, gaudy red thing that Lucille is wearing.
24. At this point I start thinking that Lucille is his wife, and not his sister.
25. Jax shows Edith a bunch of glass prints with ghostly impressions, and she teases him for thinking he’s a detective. I have no idea what the purpose of this scene was. The ghost plates never come up again and it doesn’t inspire any conversation between them about actual ghosts.
26. Bobby throws a dinner party, and Thomas is clearly gearing up to asking Edith to marry him. He does not appear to be interested in having “the talk” with Bobby, which ordinarily I am in favor of because ladies aren’t property, but c’mon, this is BOBBY we’re talking about. He’s like the exception. Always have the talk with Bobby, Thomas!
27. Oh, I forgot – Bobby hired some shady PI to get information on Thomas and Lucille, and the PI gave it to him already. We don’t get to see it, but it’s clearly bad.
28. Okay, back to the party. Bobby calls in Thomas and Lucille, and bitches to them about the papers he has. Then he writes them a check and tells them to leave the next day, and tells Thomas to break Edith’s heart.
29. So yes. That happens. Thomas is super rude publicly to Edith about her writing, and I think Jax knows that Bobby had something to do with it.
30. Anyway. Bobby goes to his social club or gym or whatever, where he’s alone with his straight edged razor blade. I bet we all know what’s going to happen, right?
31. Bobby hears a noise, and sets down his razor blade to investigate.
32. God fucking DAMMIT Bobby, you’re a hunter! You don’t stalk around creepy steamy rooms and leave your only weapon unattended! You know better than this! And wasn’t the last time you dropped your guard when you DIED?
33. So Bobby dies in the most gruesome way possible, Jesus. A black-clothed figure beats his head against the sink repeatedly till all the water runs red and he dies. It’s way grosser than his previous death by Dick hunting gun shot. With him goes half of my dwindling interest in this movie.
34. At home, Edith’s moping, and a servant brings in her manuscript and a letter from Thomas. She dithers for a few seconds before ripping it open. Thomas says he loves her and will come back for her after he’s raised himself to a proper monetary status to appease her father. She runs to their hotel, where of course he’s waiting, and they share an awkward kiss.
35. Of course, it’s at this point that Bobby’s lawyer finds her (…how?) and she’s informed of his untimely death. According to “the law” she has to do the identification.
36. Jax shows up like a hero and says he’ll do it, as Bobby’s physician, but I guess that’s not good enough and there’s argument, so Edith drops the sheet and sees her dad’s mutilated face. Nice teamwork there, everyone.
37. Jax is clearly curious about the manner of Bobby’s death, but Edith refuses to allow him to look further at the body, because why would anyone care that a prominent member of society was clearly beaten to death in a public place?
38. At the funeral, Jax gives Thomas a look, maybe a “well played, my friend”?
39. I’m sorry, you guys. This movie is really fucking long. No real plot to speak of yet!
40. England! This scene was hilarious. They show up at the ancestral estate, which is a fucking ruin of course. A crazy older servant says something about Thomas having been married “for awhile” and Edith finds a dog, which Thomas CLEARLY finds annoying, but says she can keep. Countdown to the dog’s death starts now.
41. I think the funniest fucking thing in the whole movie is Thomas’s look of absolute irritation when he sees how much Edith loves the dog.
42. They go inside, and Thomas is all, well, there’s a huge fucking hole in the ceiling (like, leaves are falling all around the main entrance), plus the red clay from the lower mines is rising up, oh and by the way, the house is sinking! Oh, and the water runs red at first from the clay in the ground! Aren’t you happy we’re married, dear?
43. I’m starting to think Bobby was right about getting out of this mess early.
44. Lucille is there to be weirdly intense and creepy again. It’s just her thing.
45. There’s a bunch about the creepy house and the creepy elevator and how Edith should never take the elevator lower than the first floor because it’s unsafe.
46. Boring. So. Fucking. Boring. Edith is trapped in the house and Lucille keeps giving her this tea and blah blah she and Thomas haven’t fucked yet because he respected her mourning or whatever. Also, she’s not allowed house keys because she doesn’t need them. God, Lucille, maybe keep your crazy evil plots less out in the open?
47. I’m skipping a bunch in the middle because, again, boring. Dead ghost lady in the tub with a giant cleaver through her forehead, dead ghost floaty lady, dead ghost making baby cries. Lucille continues to push tea on Edith like she’s a drug dealer and there’s heroin in it.
48. At some point we find out that the house is called Crimson Peak because when it snows all the red clay leaches up and stains the snow blood red. Again I say, thanks for the warning, Ghost Mom!
49. Then Edith freaks out in the middle of the night and calls for Thomas (because even though they’re technically sharing a bed she keeps waking up alone), and Thomas decides he’s going to take her to town the next day, get her some fresh air.
50. They go to some depo to pick up parts of Thomas’s machine, and I’m kind of at a loss at what he’s doing. He’s got this fancy digging machine to mine clay, but…what is he going to do with all this red clay? I don’t understand his motivations. This is probably how he ended up losing several fortunes.
51. Oh, wait. Didn’t he talk about making bricks in his pitch to Bobby? Maybe he wants to use the clay to make the bricks, so the machine is to mine it more efficiently. Well jackass, why not just make some fucking bricks for your big pitch meeting and show how much more awesome they are? That way they could actually have seen the results of your labor rather than just your fancy mock up machine. God, Thomas, you have no real foresight, do you? You’re lucky you have such a pretty face.
52. There’s a snowstorm, and they end up spending the night in the depo. Edith assures Thomas she prefers this, which no shit, honey. It’s a room with four walls and a ceiling and a floor and nothing’s falling apart and it’s probably pretty warm.
53. They chat a bit about her novel as they’re getting ready for bed. Edith tells Thomas that her main character will live or die depending on how he develops, that original motivations can change as a story chugs along. Thomas looks at her like he is THINKING REALLY HARD. Don’t hurt yourself, sweetheart.
54. Then, they have sex. It’s awkward but we do get to see Loki’s naked butt, which is very nice, and it’s kind of funny we get to see naked manbutt when they won’t show any naked lady.
55. And by “funny” I mean…bring on Loki’s naked manbutt!
56. Seriously. When we were watching this scene, my friend said, really loud, “Oh look! BUTT!” And we both laughed for five minutes like we’re twelve.
57. The next day Lucille fucking freaks out about them not coming home, how worried she was, and Edith manages to steal a key that says “Enola” off the keychain.
58. Oh yeah. Stuff I forgot. Edith found a suitcase on the bottom mine level that says “E.S.” and also got some letters, including a letter specifically for her from Milan.
59. There’s a cut back to New York, or rather several cuts back to New York, but really all you need to know is that Jax and Bobby’s attorney think it’s really suspicious that Edith left so suddenly after her dad’s mysterious and untimely death, and also that she’s now investing her family fortune into whatever Thomas is trying to do.
60. Jax heads over to the club where Bobby died, and we see that the sink was replaced – likely by the person who killed him, rather than the club. He touches a few things and looks suspicious. It’s CSI: Gothic Times!
61. But seriously. I think Jax is the smartest person in this whole movie. I mean, yeah, Thomas might be hotter, and Jax’s mother is a total bitch, but damn, Edith, why didn’t you jump on that?
62. Remember that suitcase in the basement? Okay, inside were a bunch of dossiers on the
various ladies that Thomas has married over the years. Edith also managed to find some kind of phonograph and recordings that prove he was married to several ladies. One may have had a baby.
63. Why the fuck did you keep this stuff, Thomas? I mean the recordings were somehow hidden I guess, but the dossiers? No excuses there. Idiot.
64. So the actual “secret” of the movie is that Thomas and Lucille are broke, and Thomas has been marrying wealthy ladies across the globe and stealing their money, and then killing them with poisoned tea. They are careful to pick people who have no immediate friends or family who will miss them.
65. That’s what Bobby’s PI found. At least one marriage license showing Thomas was already married. Why not just tell Edith he was married and lying to her, and show her the proof? This whole mess of a movie could’ve been avoided if you’d done that! Dammit, Bobby!
66. Oh, and do you guys remember your V.C. Andrews? Yeah, I was halfway right about Thomas and Lucille. They’re screwing, and they’re brother and sister.
67. This whole plot makes no sense to me. If they’re going to go about murdering ladies for their cash, why do they keep investing it in something as dumb as Thomas’s machine? Why don’t they just…I dunno. Fix up the house? Run away?
68. Meanwhile, Jax has arrived in England to save Edith because he found the papers and talked to the PI and blah blah do you care? Jax is coming to the rescue! Alone! In a snowstorm! Walking maybe four hours to get there! Eh?
69. Just go with it I guess.
70. Lucille throws Edith off the balcony in the front room just as Jax is arriving. Amazingly, all that seems to happen is that Edith’s leg is broken. Jax plays it cool, and tries to get her out of there, but Lucille stabs him in the arm. Way to go, Lucille. Way to hit your target.
71. Jax has time to exposition some about the death of Lucille and Thomas’s mother, how everyone suspected Lucille had done it.
72. Oh, and I’m pretty sure Lucille kills the dog at this point, too. Just in case you needed extra reasons to dislike her.
73. Lucille orders Thomas to finish the job, and Thomas does, but he asks Jax where to stab him so he won’t bleed out. Because Jax is a doctor, remember? Except I thought he was just an eye doctor, but I guess he was an all-round doctor.
74. Jax is dropped off in the basement and Lucille and Edith have a stupid chatty conversation about everything that’s happened so far, and Edith is signing over all her money because damn girl, you be stupid. Oh, and the baby from earlier? The dead one? It was Lucille’s. And the Enola lady had wanted to save the baby.
75. This is an actual interesting plotline they could’ve developed more – like, whose baby did Enola think it was? Did she know about Thomas and Lucille? But since it’s interesting, that’s all we get.
76. Edith awesomely stabs Lucille with the pen Bobby gave her at the beginning of the movie, and runs. She runs into Thomas, who promises he’s going to save her because he loves her. Jesus, Edith. Why would you fucking believe him at this point? RUN!
77. Thomas confronts Lucille, says they can go away and leave the ancestral home of red clay and likely deep abiding evil, start fresh. Lucille’s into that, till Thomas stupidly mentions that Edith will also be coming. Then she stabs him.
78. So here’s the Titus Andronicus part of the day’s events. They’re stabbing each other! With knives! And long pokey things! In the face! And blood is just fucking GUSHING. It’s like some kind of terrible slasher flick from the ’80s.
79. Actually, do you remember that Monty Pyton “it’s just a scratch” skit? Yeah, that’s what the blood looks like, honestly.
80. Lucille kills Thomas, and she’s sad about it, and then runs out to find Edith, who is still fucking standing by the elevator even though she heard everything. RUN, BITCH. IF YOU DON’T RUN YOU DESERVE WHAT YOU GET.
81. Whatever. Lucille is now a total cartoon, shrieking and thrashing out with her knife. Edith gets to the basement, and a battle ensures that takes them to the courtyard by the stupid digging machine.
82. The entire time I was like, oh, the ghosts will come and help her and get their revenge.
83. But these ghosts suck, so they don’t. Well, Thomas appears, and Lucille is all sad, and that allows Edith to brain her with a shovel and she dies. Yay!
84. Somehow, Jax has not died, and a whole bunch of people have come to rescue them. Edith tells us ghosts are real (no shit) and insinuates that Lucille’s ghost will be trapped alone in the mansion forever.

So: final thoughts. This movie will never make any “so bad it’s good” lists, because it’s just too fucking long. I will say that the sets and scenery were incredibly beautiful, and really inspired a gothic-style feel. I was very disappointed by the plot; I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw a good scary movie and was really looking forward to one.

Oh wait, I do remember. It was called “As Above, So Below,” (I think?) and was about people in the French catacombs beneath the city. So if you’re looking for a good scary flick with some laughs, try that one instead.


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