It’s always good to correctly market your movie. I, and most people, went into Focus thinking it was a high stakes thriller about gambling. And it was, for about 45 minutes before it turned into a romantic cat and mouse game between its attractive leads. The movie ended up being decent, but slightly unsatisfying because it didn’t give audiences what they thought they were coming to see. Guillermo Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hell Boy, Pacific Rim)’s latest film markets itself as a spooky ghost story set in the late 19th century, but it is actually more of a soap opera-esque mystery.
The film stars Mia Wasikowska as an aspiring author and daughter to a wealthy industrialist. After being swept off of her feet by an aspiring inventor (Tom HIddleston) she is whisked away to his withering mansion to live with him and his dreary sister (Jessica Chastain). But her father (Jim Beaver) and an old friend (Charlie Hunnam) feel the siblings are not what they appear to be.
The film certainly has its share of interesting twists and turns, but if you’re looking for a horror story, then you’ll be vastly disappointed. The movie offers up only a few eerie moments, some of which are a bit laughable thanks to less than stellar CGI. Guillermo Del Toro is known for having a love affair with the subject matter of his films and the same can be said here. There is great attention to detail in the costumes, cinematography, and gorgeous set design.
But that is not what we’re coming to see. We’re coming to see what was shown to us in trailers, commercials, and promotional materials which is a ghost story. Early in the movie, Wasikowska’s Edith Cushing describes one of her novels not as a ghost story, but as a story with ghosts in it. And that’s what Crimson Peak is, but it sure would’ve been nice to know that ahead of time. The movie ends up being decent, but not nearly as intriguing as what you might’ve anticipated.
FINAL GRADE: B-