Movie: **** 1/2
Extras: *** 1/2
Article first published on Blogcritics.
Not many directors can get away with style over substance these days.
Unless your name is Guillermo del Toro. Granted, most of his screenplays
are filled with as much depth as his production design, sometimes the
design itself drives the film. And now, Crimson Peak — his latest
visual triumph — is finally on home video for fans to embrace Allerdale
Hall in all its HD splendor in a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD combo pack from
Universal Home Entertainment.
After Edith meets Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), he whisks her away
to England after the tragic death of her father, to live at the decrepit
Allerdale Hall with Tom and his too-close-for-comfort sister Lucille
(Jessica Chastain). It won’t be long before the terrifying truth of
Crimson Peak comes calling, with Edith caught in a game of cat-and-mouse
between the living and the dead.
Universal delivers Crimson Peak on Blu-ray with a jaw-dropping
transfer. Even with a multitude of special features, the 50GB disc
gives the film plenty of life in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio.
Colors are spectacularly bold with blacks inky with just a touch of
intentional crush. Del Toro knows what he’s doing with his visual flair
on full display. Detail is exceptional while banding and aliasing are
nowhere to be found.
The 7.1 DTS:X track is also an auditory feat. Music and special
effects pan from one speaker to the next while dialogue is never drowned
out, with prioritization in full effect. Bass keeps the goosebumps
rising throughout. Additional audio tracks include DTS Headphone:X 2.0,
DVS Dolby Digital, along with Spanish and French 5.1 DTS Surround.
Subtitles are available in English, Spanish, and French.
As with all Del Toro pictures, there is a wealth of special features
included. While not quite as in depth as his Criterion releases, at
least they weren’t skimped over. An audio commentary is included with
Del Toro offering way more technical information than most directors.
His usual anecdotes are included, along with the expected foul language.
Listening to his commentaries is always a treat — and here is no
different. The man is one of the most scholared filmmakers working
today; do not hesitate to listen.
A collection of “Deleted Scenes” all could have been cut right back
in and probably add character moments that would resonate with the
naysayers. “The Park” (1:00) offers an additional bit of footage with
Charlie Hunnam’s Dr. Alan McMichael joining Edith, Thomas, and Lucille
for a lunch in the park. “Thomas’ Presentation” (0:54) reveals that
Carter was more impressed with it than in the final cut. “Father
Consoles Daughter” (0:45) is blink and you’ll miss it with Carter trying
to ease Thomas’s rejection. “Thomas Sees a Ghost” (0:49) is self
explanatory, as is “Lucille at the Piano” (0:59).
“The Light & Dark of Crimson Peak” (7:53) is a visual
breakdown of Buffalo, New York, versus Allerdale Hall in England through
the use of blacks, cyan, amber, and of course, red. “Hand Tailored
Gothic” (8:58) gives the costume designs their due, including the names
of Edith’s dresses and how Lucille’s clothes mirror the house. “A Living
Thing” (12:11) gives a peek at the original model used to set up shots
along with how long it took to build: October 2013 to February 2014.
“Beware of Crimson Peak” (7:51) is an up close and personal
tour of the set with Hiddleston as our guide. We also get to see
Wasikowska performing her own stunt when Lucille pushes Edith over a
bannister. And finally, “Crimson Phantoms” (7:02) is a look at the
spectral creations and how they used Doug Jones and Hiddleston in full
costumes to create the ultra-realistic ghosts that haunt the house.
Crimson Peak was a misunderstood release. Just because it was
released for Halloween and features Del Toro’s name on it, doesn’t
automatically mean it’s going to be the scariest film of the year — even
if the trailers were. It never mislead audiences; I think they just
went in with the wrong expectations. As it stands, Crimson Peak
is a fantastic fairytale for adults about a young woman trying to find
her place in the world, facing danger where she leasts expects it. The
cast is amazing even if the house manages to steal the show. Featuring
exemplary visual/audio, with a wealth of special features, hopefully Crimson Peak can find the fans it deserves on home video in a Blu-ray package worth a blind buy for those who didn’t catch it in theaters.