Crimson Peak (Blu-ray Review)

Crimson-PeakA sheltered young woman abandons the safe certainty of her upbringing for life with an alluring aristocrat on a remote English estate in Crimson Peak, a visually stunning and intensely disturbing thriller from writer and director Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s LabyrinthHellboy), coming to Digital HD on January 26, 2016, and Blu-rayCombo Pack, DVD and On Demand on February 9, 2016, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and Legendary Pictures.  Brilliantly unforgettable visuals and an atmosphere steeped in dread make Crimson Peak an elegant, gorgeously realized and completely original horror mystery that has been declared “a masterpiece” by Fox-TV.   The Blu-rayCombo Pack comes with more than an hour of bonus features that reveal some of the terrifying secrets hidden behind the doors of sinister Allerdale Hall. 

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Film Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-_5Dexter-0

When her heart is stolen by a seductive stranger, a young woman is swept away to a house atop a mountain of blood-red clay— a place filled with secrets that will haunt her forever. Between desire and darkness, between mystery and madness, lies the truth behind Crimson Peak.

Ah, Crimson Peak, the Gothic romance that confused audiences everywhere.  Most going in thinking it was some sort of “Boo! Its a ghost” haunted house film with a period setting to scare audiences during October.  Probably because I pay more attention and do reading, the film always seemed to look like it was a throwback to the Gothic romance film that people like Hammer used to turn out back in the 1960s.  You should get mad at the film for the marketing.  Hopefully those disappointed because they didn’t get a cheap scare movie, and got something a little richer will give it another shot some day and appreciate it for what it is.

Unfortunately, I can’t really say the film is some sort of masterpiece either.  Its a very good film and one that was even better on this second viewing than the first.  There is a real strong devotion to colors, costuming and beauty in all the sets in the film.  Guillermo is probably right, it is his most beautiful looking film to date.  And on this Blu-ray, the cinematography and color come through handsomely and consume you just enough visually that getting a story is like a bonus.

At the center of Crimson Peak is a mystery of murder, love and haunted pasts.  You’re plenty aware of who’s involved with what pretty easy, but its the layers of how and the character development and relations unfolding that make it worth the while.  I do think the film probably runs about 15-20 minutes too long and could have tightened some areas, but as is, a little bloated, its still very good.  And the four main cast members are pretty fun to watch ham it up with one another (Okay, make that 3, Charlie Hunnam is merely “solid” here).

People are rather mixed on the film, but I really have enjoyed it.  Not my favorite of Guillermo’s works personally, but still pretty strong and many good things to takeaway from it.  For people its also hard to understand or accept the Gothic romance genre, still trying to think of it as a horror film.  Yes, there are horror aspects, but their purposes and stories are much different.  This is one of del Toro’s films that I think will garner more appreciation with age and understanding.

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Video Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  Of course this friggin’ gorgeous movie looks lavishly beautiful on Blu-ray.  From the intricate interior of the house, to the snow, to the red clay outside Crimson Peak, this thing has really got it going on.  The image is sharp and striking.  Yes, its a modern release, but still very impressive.  

Depth:  This movie was released in 3-D (Gothic romance…3-D? Sure, why not), so everything is already cozy with its spacing and distance.  There is good layering and depth with the environments in the house that look groovy, even in 2 dimensions.  Movements are smooth, backgrounds are as crisp as the focus will let you see.

Black Levels:  Blacks are deep and rich.  No crushing here.  Many terrific instances of enhancing the picture with shadow, too.  Hair, clothing and surfaces that are darker or black all still display good detail.

Color Reproduction:  As I mentioned, red is a key color here and it looks wonderful in any tint or shade.  Whites are impressive too.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are slightly cold and maintain a solid one-track look throughout.  Details like make-up, lip texture, stubble, wrinkles and pores all pull through like a window.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

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Audio Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1

Audio Format(s): English DTS-X, English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, English DTS-X Headphones, Spanish 5.1 DTS, French 5.1 DTS

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Dynamics:  As beautiful as the picture quality is, the audio mix is just as romantic.  This review is covering the 7.1 DTS-HD MA track, not the X one.  This film is full, rich and gets every little knick and knack right.  If the house has the tiniest creak, its captured here brilliantly as it would be standing there in person.

Low Frequency Extension:  Engines running, doors closing and some spooking jumps in the score are some of the many creative uses for the subwoofer in this mix.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Plenty of haunting ambiance and chills lie in the 7 channel experience.  Little sound foley effects are all placed a perfect volumes and sound wonderfully well rounded.  Movements and placements are spot on for perfection.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is crisp and clear.  Every little breath and piece of diction is capture here in the mix.

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Extras Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-_5

Crimson Peak comes with a DVD copy and UltraViolet Digital Copy.

Audio Commentary

  • With Guillermo del Toro – As always, del Toro does not disappoint.  He immediately shares his frustrations with the market and touts this as the most beautiful film he’s made.  There is a big emphasis on having a strong woman protagonist.  Also, he points out ghosts you may or may not have seen, the importance of colors, butterflies and much more in this outstanding commentary track.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 4:37)

I Remember Crimson Peak – An in depth look at important sets and locations that appear in the film.  These featurettes also bring some new meaning and deeper understanding to their purpose in the story.

  • The Gothic Corridor (HD, 4:06)
  • The Scullery (HD, 4:24)
  • The Red Clay Mines (HD, 5:18)
  • The Limbo Fog Set (HD, 5:42)

A Primer On Gothic Romance (HD, 5:36) – Guillermo and the cast discuss the history of the genre.

The Light And Dark Of Crimson Peak (HD, 7:53) – A further look at the color schemes in the film.

Hand Tailored Gothic (HD, 8:58) – Focuses on the film’s costumes.

A Living Thing (HD, 12:11) – A featurette all about the house at the center of the film.

Beware of Crimson Peak (HD, 7:51) – A tour of the house by Tom Hiddleston

Crimson Phantoms (HD, 7:02) – A look at the effects of the film, both digitally and practically.

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Summary Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-_5

Crimson Peak is a likely candidate for the film in the Guillermo del Toro canon that, with years separation and people looking back more knowing what they’re getting into, will people reanalyzed and more appreciated in the passage of time.  No, its not his best and I’m not tossing it to the bottom either.  Its in a kind of middle ground that I think it can only get better from there with more views.  Speaking of views, this Blu-ray is frigging lovely with both its video and audio presentations.  The bonus material is very wealthy too.  Any time you get Guillermo on a commentary its worth a day 1 purchase price.  If you’re a fan of Guillermo del Toro or just the film, this Blu-ray comes as a high recommend.



Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

1 Response to “Crimson Peak (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Gregg Senko

    I have to offer the counterpoint on this one. I thought this was one of the worst films to come out last year. Yes, it was visually beautiful. The sets, the costumes, the environments…they all drew in the eye like a magnet. However, great visuals and great sound do not make a movie great. The story was tiring and went nowhere quickly. By the end, I lost care in what happened to which character as the three of us that saw this together in the theater were wondering what else we could have spent our combined $39 on that evening.