Before I start, I just want to tell you how badly I want to spoil this movie for you. There is, as always, a twist towards the end of the film, and it's somewhat difficult for me to discuss the plot without going into the (rather unsurprising) twist. But okay, okay, I'll try to refrain from talking about it. I know a lot of people were/are excited about Crimson Peak, so if you haven't seen it yet, I won't ruin it for you!
Basic plot: A young American woman named Edith (Mia Wasikowska) is swept off her feet by a visitor from England, Thomas (Tom Hiddleston). She leaves her life in America behind to marry and live with him in an isolated, creepy, dilapidated house in the UK. Don't get me wrong, I can see the appeal. Handsome foreign man is so in love with you that he wants to take you with him across the pond? But as soon as you see the house, you can tell it won't go well. You know that's the case at the beginning of the movie, to be honest, but still. It's a beautiful but bleak setting, and I felt instant depression at the thought of living there.
Red clay encompasses the surrounding land, even underneath the house, giving everything a rather bloody look to it. Again, great imagery! That's what ends up selling this movie above anything else. Storywise, it's lacking. You have a ghost story mixed in with a murder mystery, although it never manages to be scary. After watching the trailer, I thought this was going to be about vampires, I really did. Jessica Chastain (who plays Thomas' unhappy, dog-hating sister) and Tom Hiddleston both look like vampires, so you can see why I thought that. In the end it's about Edith finding out what her new husband is hiding, and what horrors happened in the house she's living in.
I felt they could have done more with this. The characters and plot could have benefited from some added depth, but it ended up feeling a bit hollow. It's entertaining, but surprisingly forgettable given how much detail and thought was put into the costumes and sets.
My grade: B