Blu-ray Review Crimson Peak

'Crimson Peak' Blu-ray Review: From Hellboy to Hellmouth

February 9, 2016Ben MK

Both a love story and a turn-of-the-century fright fest, director Guillermo del Toro's Crimson Peak follows Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), an aspiring writer from Buffalo, New York, whose own belief in ghosts stems from an eerie encounter she had with her recently-deceased mother some 14 years earlier. It was then that Edith first heard the name "Crimson Peak," uttered to her as part of an ominous warning from that skeletal apparition. However, it wouldn't be until after she meets a man named Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) that she's able to glean its ghastly meaning.

A handsome English baronet who's come to the States in search of funds to save his floundering family legacy — a business mining the blood red clay buried deep beneath his baroque residence in Cumberland, England — Thomas strikes up an intense romance with Edith. Yet Thomas' sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain) and Edith's father (Jim Beaver) seem to frown upon their relationship. Nonetheless, the couple are soon married, and it isn't long before Edith finds herself leaving behind her old life for Allerdale Hall, where she quickly discovers that not everything is as it appears.

Despite her desire to bring nothing but "love and warmth" to her new home, Edith is plagued by nightmarish visions that lead her to suspect that something sinister is afoot. Needless to say, her suspicions are confirmed when she learns that Allerdale Hall is also known by another name — Crimson Peak — and her late mother's prophetic words come flooding back. From there, the movie becomes a spectral murder mystery; and even though del Toro and co-writer Matthew Robbins don't make it too hard for audiences to fathom how the story will end up, it's still a scream to watch it all unfold.

Gorgeously macabre with bursts of shocking gore, Crimson Peak is a masterwork that's worth the price of admission for its moody visuals alone. Yet, beyond the film's fantastic sense of atmosphere and sumptuous production values, there also lurks a heartbreaking story of love, greed and betrayal, brought to life by the vivid performances of Wasikowska, Hiddleston and Chastain. A thorough treat for fans of del Toro, Crimson Peak is a love letter to the Gothic romance genre that most definitely deserves to be called a pinnacle of Gothic movie-making.

With such rich visuals, it would be a shame if Crimson Peak's Blu-ray presentation weren't up to standards. Thankfully, that's most definitely not the case, as this 1080p image is 100% flawless, delivering razor-sharp detail (serving as the ideal showcase for the film's exquisite, Victorian-era production and costume design), as well as superb contrast and color saturation (in keeping with Del Toro's intentions for "on-camera technicolor"). The high-caliber image is perfectly complemented by the disc's DTS-X 7.1 sound mix, which not only renders dialogue and music with the utmost clarity, but also steeps viewers in the beauty of the film's eerie and atmospheric sound design, which brims with ominous rumblings of thunder, wintry winds, ghastly screams and sudden shrieks.

Universal's two-disc Blu-ray release includes an iTunes/UltraViolet digital copy, a DVD and the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Deleted Scenes (4:26) - Five scenes ("The Park," "Thomas' Presentation," "Father Consoles Daughter," "Thomas Sees a Ghost" and "Lucille at the Piano").
  • I Remember Crimson Peak (19:30) - A four-part look at various locations in and around Allerdale Hall ("The Gothic Corridor," "The Scullery," "The Red Clay Mines" and "The Limbo Fog Set").
  • A Primer on Gothic Romance (5:36) - Del Toro and the cast give viewers some background on the Gothic romance genre, how it differs from Gothic horror, its key components and how Crimson Peak qualifies as Gothic romance.
  • The Light and Dark of Crimson Peak (7:53) - Set Decorator Shane Vieau and Costume Designer Kate Hawley talk about the role color plays in the film, from the golden hues and tobacco tones of Buffalo to the more brooding colors of Cumberland and Allerdale Hall.
  • Hand Tailored Gothic (8:58) - A featurette about the film's costume design and how it also contrasts and reflects the architecture of Allerdale Hall, especially the wardrobe for Edith, Lucille and Thomas.
  • A Living Thing (12:11) - Production Designer Tom Sanders, del Toro and the filmmakers discuss the house, from its Gothic design and architecture, to the scale model used for planning, to its actual construction, to its various textures and finishes.
  • Beware of Crimson Peak (7:51) - Actor Tom Hiddleston gives viewers a tour of the Allerdale Hall set, including its main hall, the scullery and the library.
  • Crimson Phantoms (7:02) - A look at the film's spectral apparitions and how they were created through a combination of actors' performances and visual effects.
  • Feature Commentary with Co-Writer/Director Guillermo del Toro - Del Toro talks about the film as Gothic romance, its color palette, its themes, the characters and their relationships, the cinematography, the production and costume design, the sound design and more.

Crimson Peak is available from Universal Home Entertainment as of February 9th, 2016. The Blu-ray features English DTS-X 7.1, English DTS Headphone X 2.0, French and Spanish DTS 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 2.0 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. The total runtime is 1 Hr. 59 mins.

* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on October 16th, 2015.

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