For the most part I'd consider myself a fan of Guillermo del Toro, I think that he's made some films that tell brilliant stories (Pan's Labyrinth), some great entertaining pieces (Pacific Rim) and some truly stunning visual masterpieces (Hellboy 2). Sadly, I felt that Crimson Peak didn't work in any of these ways.
I've seen so many reviews praising the film's visual style, some even calling it a masterpiece in gothic horror, but I'm finding myself having to disagree with that. The almost over the top gothic style tended to distract me from my immersion more than anything else, where I would often find myself looking at a particular set or a costume and thinking that it was too over the top. Whenever Edith was on screen in her nightgown all I could look at were the ridiculous puffy shoulders.
Del Toro seemed to fill the screen with over saturated and almost animated colours that seem so out of place and over the top that I found myself unable to take things seriously. The deep red of the ghosts at Crimson Peak itself were just too red and plastic looking that they had no scare factor of threat to them. They looked like they were made out of wax and that a good hit would make them snap.
The ghosts in the film were without a doubt some of the worst I can remember seeing, with no consistent style. Some were see through and dark, looking like they were made out of smoke, whilst others were solid and bright red. Is there a reason for this difference in the types of ghosts? If there is del Toro doesn't feel the need to explain any of it.
Once you strip away the visuals there's not really much the film has going for itself that actually separates it from any other film. The script is very bland, with many of the plot points being so obvious and cliched that they can be seen coming at least half an hour earlier.
I'm finding it harder and harder to find this 'great' film that people were saying 'Crimson Peak' was. The visuals are bold but over the top and feels wrong for a film that is supposed to be a gothic horror. The characters are flat and unimaginative, with little to no characterisation or development. The story is a by the numbers fair that doesn't try to break any new ground but plods along from from cliche to the next.
The only thing I can think of that made anyone pay any real attention to it is the inclusion of Tom Hiddleston, which was guaranteed to make the Hiddlestoners come flocking and heap praise on the film just because it has him as a part of it.
I might get some hate for saying this, but I think that 'Crimson Peak' has been coasting on the fact that it has Tom Hiddleston in it and doesn't actually offer up anything of any real substance or content itself.