Crimson Peak (2015) written and directed by Guillermo del Toro
Bookish young woman Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) is mostly focused on publishing her first novel in 1901 Buffalo, New York. She is distracted from her ambition by Englishman Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston). He's in town seeking financing from her father and his bank. Thomas's English estate has a special red clay that is very versatile. The only challenge is mining the clay. Thomas has a contraption that will mine efficiently but needs money to make a full-scale model. Edith's father has the goods on Thomas--Thomas has already been to London, Edinburgh, and Milan seeking financing. All with no success, so the dad does not want to finance him. Meanwhile, Thomas woes Edith. Is his motive true love or gold digging? A tragedy makes Edith travel to England as Thomas's wife, but her new home is haunted by more than doubts about Thomas's motives--there be ghosts as well.
A lot of Gothic horror tropes are in this movie. The spooky, isolated countryside estate is called Allerdale Hall. The clay seeps up from the ground, staining winter snow red, making it the titular Crimson Peak. The house's creepy housekeeper is Thomas's sister Lucille (Jessica Chastaine) who is an excellent piano player and an icy woman. The house has a dark basement that you don't really want to visit. The house is stocked with poison, ghosts, secrets, dilapidation, and a library to die for. The steampunk element of the mining machine is an interesting addition and del Toro provides a lot of amazing visuals and atmosphere.
Then why is the movie disappointing to me? The heroine is on paper an interesting woman but she's a little too passive and subdued to be a favorite. Hiddleston's character and performance is charming and complex but his character peters out at the end. The story is a little predictable which isn't so bad but the movie had no breathtaking or heartbreaking moments. Outside of the awesome visuals and Hiddleston's performance, the film is not very remarkable.