A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that director Guillermo Del Toro's Crimson Peak is a ghost story with blood and scares, but it's also a kind of gothic romance. The stylized violence includes plenty of stabbing, slicing, and bashing, with gallons of spilled blood, bleeding wounds, and gory death. The ghosts can be scary, but the jump-scares aren't constant. A man kisses and has sex with his wife (part of his naked bottom is shown); later he's shown in an illicit embrace with another woman (kissing, with her hand down his pants). Language is limited to a single use of "f--k," and theres mention of "drinking too much" and characters holding glasses at a party. It's far more stylish than it is deep, but it's entertaining.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In CRIMSON PEAK, Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) lives in turn-of-the-20th-century New York and wants to be a writer; she likes to pen ghost stories. A friendly ophthalmologist (Charlie Hunnam) loves her, but she instead falls for the mysterious Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), who's trying to raise money to mine the special red clay that lies underneath his property in England. When Edith's father suddenly dies, she goes away with Thomas and his sister, Lucille (Jessica Chastain), to the Sharpe family mansion -- an awesome, awful place filled with black butterflies; seeping red goop; groaning, breathing corridors; forbidden rooms; and ghosts. As Edith grows strangely weaker, she tries to discover the ghosts' secrets.
Is it any good?
Director Guillermo Del Toro is capable of exploring the true depths of the disturbing, but here he seems more preoccupied with a magnificent ghost house design. It's all surface, but what a surface! With its swirling leaves, black butterflies, white snow, and blood-red clay, the mansion is one of the most impressive things ever designed for a scary movie, and the ghosts (embodied by actor Doug Jones) are hideously misshapen, sending a chill down your spine.
Crimson Peak is inspired by 19th-century literature and is borrowed from dark Hollywood romances like Gaslight and Notorious. It's a tribute to days gone by, but Del Toro never really gets inside it; we don't know his feelings, or why these things haunt him. Nevertheless, the actors are all fine (especially Hiddleston, who looks like he was born for this time period). It's more stylish than profound -- it's closer to Hellboy II: The Golden Army than to Pan's Labyrinth -- but it's still quite an experience.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Crimson Peak's bloody violence. How intense is it? How did it affect you? How are the bloody attacks different from the ghost scenes? What's the impact of media violence on kids?
Is the movie scary? What's the appeal of scary movies? How is this movie similar to or different from other horror movies you've seen?
What's shocking or out-of-place about the movie's sexual content? What is shown and not shown? How is sex treated?
How does Del Toro use colors in the movie? What do the colors evoke when you see them?
- In theaters: October 16, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: February 9, 2016
- Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska
- Director: Guillermo Del Toro
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Horror
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 119 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: bloody violence, some sexual content and brief strong language
- Last updated: October 17, 2019
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