Part 10 of my 13 Ghost Movies of Halloween!
- Directed by Guillermo Del Toro
- Starring Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowski, Jessica Chastain
- Written by Guillermo Del Toro, Matthew Robbins
- Fantasy, Horror
- Rated R
- 1hr 59mins
- 16 October 2015
A young woman has been haunted by ghosts her entire life. However, when a mysterious man and his sister enter her life, the ghosts seem to become more frequent than ever before. After the death of her father, Edith marries Thomas, her mysterious lover, and moves back to England with him and his sister, Lucille. What she finds there is even more sinister than what she left behind in America.
How’s the Story?
I’m biased, as I’ve said in several of these reviews now, but I love Gothic genre, and this movie is absolutely, without any comparison, the quintessential Gothic romance film. It is a lit-nerd’s dream. It has every element of that eerie yet romantic, creepy yet charming, scary yet sexy Gothic genre style going on and it’s all so good. I love this story, and I think that the reason so many people disliked it is that they were expecting a straight up horror movie and instead got a Gothic romance horror movie.
How’s the Acting?
Mia Wasikowski has never done a bad performance that I’ve seen, and this is just another good one from her. She as Edith is so believable and lovable and you want good things for her. Tom Hiddleston also can hardly ever do any wrong in my eyes. He brings such humanity into his characters, good and bad, so there is no straight up ‘good or bad’. Thomas isn’t a villain, he’s a dark anti-hero. We want him to pay for his wrongdoings but we also don’t blame him for them. Jessica Chastain, however, is the real star here. She is a scene-stealer in the best way. I love how subtly terrifying she plays Lucille. It’s just fascinating to watch and so, so good.
How’s the Writing/Directing?
This movie is very much a Guillermo Del Toro movie. The man knows how to write a love story within a greater picture. Everything about how this movie is written sucks you in. The small moments bring you so deep into the characters lives that you don’t realize it has happened at all. That’s good writing and directing right there.
Also, side note: Guillermo Del Toro knows how to write women. I haven’t seen all of his work, but in everything of his I have seen, women aren’t just shoved in the story, they are people. He makes them complex, very interesting characters and this is very much a movie about two women. Thomas is not relegated to a sexy lamp, but he is the ‘object’ in this one. There’s very little more satisfying than a movie where a woman makes her own choices, her own mistakes, and essentially is the maker of her own destiny a dozen times over. It’s just so refreshing to see a movie written and directed in such a way that the main character who is a woman feels like a real woman. I would honestly believe a woman wrote and directed this movie, that’s how realistic Edith and Lucille are.
How’s the Cinematography?
Again, it’s a Guillermo Del Toro movie. He’s all about working with cinematographers who are great at using vibrant colors and extravagant visuals and this movie is no exception. The use of shadow and light is so good here, not to mention the boldness in everything red. It only ups that ‘creep’ factor and is a nice departure from the normal dark and drab style used in so many horror films.
One scene in particular that just thrills me to death is the scene where Edith’s father dies. The water and the steam and the blood swirling around, it’s all just so reminiscent of something like Hannibal with its cinematographic quality of making the macabre beautiful. It’s just such a pretty film to look at.
Is It Worth Watching?
This is one of my favorite movies. Full stop. One of the best of 2015 by far. Honestly, I think this movie is a love-it-or-hate-it and I’m so far on the ‘love it’ side that I cannot comprehend not loving it. I know taste is subjective, but Jesus, this movie is just so, so good.
My Rating: 9/10