Crimson Peak

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Synopsis

From the imagination of Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, The Shape of Water) comes Crimson Peak, a lavish, stunningly realised journey into the dark heart of Gothic romance...

Beginning in Buffalo, New York, during the 1880s, Crimson Peak stars Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland, Stoker) as Edith Cushing, an aspiring writer who is haunted by the death of her mother. Edith falls in love with seductive stranger Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston, Avengers Assemble), who whisks her off to Allerdale Hall, his baronial, yet dilapidated English mansion built upon a mountain of blood-red clay. Here Edith meets Lucille (Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty), Thomas's sister who at times seems hostile and jealous. As Edith struggles to feel at home in the imposing residence, she gradually uncovers a horrendous family secret and encounters supernatural forces that will help her discover the terrible truth behind Crimson Peak.

Boasting incredibly intricate and ornate production design and a rich visual style, del Toro's film is a grandiose, boldly baroque triumph of Gothic decadence, which expertly combines and contrasts the sublimely beautiful with the shockingly grotesque. Crimson Peak is presented here in sumptuous special packaging, with a wealth of extra features, affording unprecedented insight into the making of this modern Gothic classic.

Picture 10/10

Arrow Video has upgraded their Blu-ray edition of Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak to 4K UHD, presenting the film on a triple-layer disc with Dolby Vision in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 in 2160p/24hz ultra high-definition. The film was finished initially in 2K digital, and previous Blu-ray releases from Arrow and Universal utilized the same master sourced from the digital intermediate. Although not explicitly confirmed, the provided notes suggest that Arrow is once again using this same master, now enhanced with HDR grading by Fidelity in Motion.

Given the 2K source, I initially expected only a minor upgrade at best. However, upon viewing, I was pleasantly surprised—the presentation looks phenomenal. While there was nothing inherently wrong with Arrow’s high-definition presentation, the 4K version is substantially cleaner and richer. It's free of noise and artifacts, delivering extraordinary detail and intricacy in the film’s set and costume designs. The black levels are notably deeper, offering a far greater range in the shadows and revealing details previously obscured in the high-def presentation—a benefit of the HDR grading. Highlights are sharp without clipping, and the nighttime candlelit exteriors appear exceptionally vivid. The colors, particularly the reds, are more vibrant and leap off the screen with newfound depth.

Yet, what truly stands out is the smoothness of the image. Since the movie was never shot on film, there is no grain, and digital artifacts are non-existent (a point worth emphasizing). The blending and gradation within colors and shadows are impeccably smooth, making the visuals simply gorgeous. This release is undoubtedly a worthwhile upgrade, even for those already owning the previous Limited Edition.

Audio 10/10

Arrow includes a DTS;X soundtrack and a DTS-HD MA 2.0 soundtrack optimized for headphones. I listened to the DTS:X track through a 5.1.2 configuration. I’m pretty sure they’re the same tracks found on the previous Blu-rays from Universal and Arrow.

It’s still a very immersive and effectively atmospheric presentation. Dialogue sounds crisp and clean while the film’s score swells wonderfully when needed, filling the environment. However, the mix is most effective when it comes to placing viewers in the middle of the film’s central manor, where there are all sorts of noises and “bumps in the night” with notable height and direction. The dynamic range is wonderfully wide between the lows and highs, and the soundtrack has plenty of wonderful jumps and bursts when appropriate. It’s a terrific mix and perfectly suitable for the film.

Extras 8/10

All material Arrow included with their Blu-ray has been ported over to their 4K UHD edition of Crimson Peak. Yet again, most of the material consists of short featurettes that previously appeared on the Universal disc. This also includes the audio commentary by director Guillermo del Toro. His commentary tracks are always rich with insights; in this one, he delves into his influences and the thought process behind many of his designs. Del Toro also reflects on the film’s marketing, misleadingly selling it as a horror movie rather than the Gothic romance he intended. It’s still an excellent director track brimming with information.

Arrow’s making-of documentary, The House is Alive: Constructing Crimson Peak, pops up again. Running 50 minutes, this documentary doesn’t feature any “new” material but is crafted from footage found in the supplements on Universal’s release and other footage from the time. Despite this, it provides a comprehensive look at the film’s journey from conception to release. The standout section focuses on the set designs and the extensive model work involved, offering a close-up view of these intricate creations. Although not all material from the other featurettes is included, it does feature interviews and footage not found elsewhere, making it a richly edited and informative piece on the film’s production.

Next is an 8-minute Spanish-language interview with Guillermo del Toro, where he discusses the production, the ghosts, and his childhood influences, reiterating that the film is not a horror movie.

Arrow also includes ten featurettes on the film’s production, originally produced by Universal. Four are grouped under the heading "Allerdale Hall: Four Featurettes," each examining different rooms in the house and their respective sets: The Gothic Corridor (4 minutes), The Scullery (4 minutes), The Red Clay Mines (5 minutes), and The Limbo Fog Set (under 6 minutes).

Following these are A Primer on Gothic Romance (5 minutes), featuring the cast and crew discussing the genre and its influences on the film, and The Light and Dark of Crimson Peak (8 minutes), which explores the film’s settings and use of color. Hand Tailored Gothic (9 minutes) delves into the film’s remarkable costumes and their designs. In comparison, A Living Thing (12 minutes) focuses on the central house and the model work involved—arguably the best featurette of studio-produced material. Beware of Crimson Peak (8 minutes) offers a tour of the house with Tom Hiddleston, highlighting its details, and Crimson Phantoms (7 minutes) examines the ghost designs, featuring behind-the-scenes footage of del Toro directing the ghost movements.

While the featurettes are intriguing, the documentary by Arrow is preferable as it cohesively covers the same material in a more engaging format.

Recorded originally for Arrow’s Blu-ray, Kim Newman provides a 17-minute discussion on the genre elements of the film and the significant influence of Gothic romance on del Toro, tracing the genre back to its literary origins. Kat Ellinger’s 24-minute video essay explores various scholarly works and films (with a particular focus on Roger Corman and Giallo horror) that influenced Crimson Peak. Both features are meticulously researched and enhance the understanding of del Toro’s vision.

Additionally, the disc includes the same four deleted scenes from the previous release, totaling just under five minutes, along with a few trailers—both the American and international versions—and two television spots. It wraps up with two image galleries, each with fewer than 20 images, featuring production and behind-the-scenes photos.

While the material is still good (especially Ellinger’s and Newman’s contributions), the upgrade from Universal’s disc still isn’t as substantial content-wise. However, as with the Limited Edition Blu-ray, the included inserts add some value. On top of posters and cards, the release features (yet again) a lengthy hardbound book. It features essays on the film by David Jenkins and Simon Abrams, as well as a reprinted interview with del Toro from a 2015 issue of Sight & Sound and Kim Newman’s review. The book's latter half showcases designs for the film’s settings and ghosts. It’s a beautifully crafted book packed with content.

Overall, while the supplements are robust and enriched by Arrow’s exclusive features and del Toro’s commentary, the standout is undoubtedly Arrow’s lavish packaging, making this edition a compelling upgrade for dedicated fans of the film.

Closing

The new 4K presentation looks phenomenal, making this edition worth the upgrade all on its own.

BUY AT: Amazon.com Amazon.ca

 
 
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Year: 2015
Time: 119 min.
 
Series: Arrow Video
Licensor: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: May 28 2024
MSRP: $59.99
 
4K UHD Blu-ray
1 Disc | UHD-100
1.85:1 ratio
English 2.0 DTS-HD MA Stereo
English 7.2.4 DTS:X
Subtitles: English
Region None
HDR: HDR10Dolby Vision
 
 Audio commentary by co-writer and director Guillermo del Toro   The House is Alive: Constructing Crimson Peak, a feature-length documentary with cast and crew interviews and extensive behind the scenes footage   Spanish language interview with Guillermo del Toro   The Gothic Corridor, The Scullery, The Red Clay Mines, The Limbo Fog Set; four featurettes exploring different aspects of Allerdale Hall   A Primer on Gothic Romance, the director and stars talk about the key traits of Gothic romance   The Light and Dark of Crimson Peak, the cast and crew talk about the film s use of color   Hand Tailored Gothic, a featurette on the film s striking costumes   A Living Thing, a look at the design, modelling and construction of the Allerdale Hall sets   Beware of Crimson Peak, a walking tour around Allerdale Hall with Tom Hiddleston   Crimson Phantoms, a featurette on the film's amazing ghosts   Kim Newman on Crimson Peak and the Tradition of Gothic Romance, a newly filmed interview with author and critic   Violence and Beauty in Guillermo del Toro's Gothic Fairy Tale Films, a video essay by the writer Kat Ellinger   Deleted scenes   Image gallery   Original trailers   TV spots   Double-sided, fold-out poster   Four double-sided post card   Limited Edition packaging newly designed by Crimson Peak concept artist Guy Davis   Limited edition 80-page, hard-bound book featuring new writing by David Jenkins and Simon Abrams, an archival interview with Guillermo del Toro, and original conceptual design illustrations by artists Guy Davis and Oscar Chichoni