I knew to go into this film that as a Del Toro horror film, not to get my hopes up of being scared at any point of the film.
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Release Date: October 16th 2015
A supernatural horror story set in Victorian England, starring Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain and Tom Hiddleston, sounds good, right? Yeah, that’s what I thought when I when to see the film last night, but sadly what I ended up watching was a romance movie with a few ghosts knocking around for next to no reason, abet a very pretty one.
Edith Cushing (Wasikowska) is a young aspiring novelist, when one day while using one of her father’s typewriters to finish her latest novel, she meets a charming young Baronet (Hiddleston) from England, who together with his sister (Chastain) are attempting to raise funds for one of his inventions for clay mining.
After a brief romance and the sudden death of her father, they move back to the beautifully gothic Allerdale Hall in the equally beautiful Cumbria (though I don’t believe they filmed there), Edith soon starts exploring the crumbling building and with a little help from some CGI ghosts, begins to suspect that something not quite right may have happened at this house and that her new husbands and sister-in-law may be not what they seem.
The basic premise is quite good, and the setting is visually stimulating, sadly however the film has been painfully miss-advertised, the film itself isn’t a gothic horror film at all and if you were to remove the ghosts from the film, it would, for the most part, be exactly the same and that’s the problem, I’ve seen better films where ghosts help solve their own murders, such as the 2000 psychological horror What Lies Beneath and better films set in gothic Victorian houses like the 2011 surprisingly good Woman In Black and to be fair I have seen better combinations of the two, such as both the 1963 and 1999 versions of The Haunting, which makes the whole experience a bit of a letdown.
The film itself isn’t a bad one, as a period romance film, it has some interesting themes, acted wonderfully by all the main cast, especially Hiddlestone, all of which is aided by the fact that you could see Del Toro’s eye for detail pouring out of every shot and to be fair if you are going to see this movie, watch it on IMAX as that way you can truly lose yourself in the cinematography, it’s just a shame that Del Toro has ruined the film somewhat with poor CGI creatures that really don’t need to be in the movie and a marketing campaign that rather than attracting people who love romance films and period dramas, it has been targeted at horror fans who will unfortunately like me leave the cinema disappointed.