Crimson Peak
IMAX Theatrical release poster
Directed byGuillermo del Toro
Written by
Produced by
  • Guillermo del Toro
  • Callum Greene
  • Jon Jashni
  • Thomas Tull
CinematographyDan Laustsen
Edited byBernat Vilaplana
Music byFernando Velázquez
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • October 16, 2015 (2015-10-16)
Running time
119 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$55 million[2]
Box office$26.7 million[2]

Crimson Peak is a 2015 gothic romance film[3] directed by Guillermo del Toro and written by del Toro and Matthew Robbins. The film stars Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam, and Jim Beaver. Produced by Legendary Pictures[4] and distributed by Universal Pictures,[5] the film was released on October 16, 2015.[6][7][8]


Edith Cushing, the young daughter of self-made industrialist Carter Cushing, is visited by her mother's black, disfigured ghost. The spirit warns her daughter to, "Beware Crimson Peak"

Fourteen years later, at the turn of the 20th century, Edith is now a struggling author who prefers penning ghost stories to romance novels. She meets Sir Thomas Sharpe, an English aristocrat seeking investors, including Edith's father, for his clay mining invention. Disdaining aristocracy and unimpressed by Sharpe's previous failures to raise capital, Cushing rejects the proposal. Shortly after, Edith is again visited by her mother's spirit bearing the same warning.

Mr. Cushing and Edith's childhood friend Dr. Alan McMichael, disapprove when Edith and Sir Thomas become romantically attached. Mr. Cushing hires a private detective who uncovers that Sir Thomas is already married and other unsavory information about him and his sister, Lucille. Mr. Cushing confronts the Sharpe siblings and bribes them into leaving Buffalo, NY. As Cushing instructed him, Sir Thomas cruelly breaks off the relationship with Edith, but the next morning, sends her a note explaining his actions. Soon after, Mr. Cushing is brutally murdered. Edith and Sir Thomas marry and return to England. They arrive at Allerdale Hall, the Sharpe's dilapidated mansion. Dispite Edith's efforts, Lucille is cold and distant.

Edith sees gruesome ghosts and also her mother, who again warns: "Beware of Crimson Peak." To calm her, Sir Thomas takes her into town. The two are snowed in and stay overnight, consummating their marriage. Lucille lashes out when they return the next morning, frightening Edith. By the time Sir Thomas mentions that the estate is sometimes referred to as "Crimson Peak", due to the red clay seeping up through the snow, Edith is growing increasingly weaker and coughing up blood.

Edith explores the house and begins piecing together clues revealing that Sir Thomas previously married three wealthy women, all of whom were poisoned for their inheritances. She also discovers that the siblings have been having a long-term incestuous relationship. Lucille murdered their mother when she discovered her children's involvement. Left to their cursed manor, the siblings began their "marriage and murder" scam to fund Sir Thomas' inventions. Their incestuous union also resulted in a sickly infant who died.

After talking to the private detective that Mr. Cushing hired, Dr. McMichael arrives at Allerdale Hall to rescue Edith. Lucille stabs him, then demands that Sir Thomas finish him off. Sir Thomas, who has fallen in love with Edith and does not want to harm her, inflicts a second, non-fatal stab wound to McMichael. He then hides him in the cellar, saying that he will save Edith. Lucille, jealous that Sir Thomas loves Edith, murders him in a fit of rage; she then pursues Edith. With help from Sir Thomas' ghost, Edith kills Lucille. Edith and Sir Thomas' ghost bid each other a silent farewell before his spirit departs. Edith escapes with McMichael and Lucille's ghost now haunts Allerdale.




"But basically what it is is a really, really, almost classical gothic romance ghost story, but then it has two or three scenes that are really, really disturbing in a very, very modern way. Very, very disturbing, it's a proper R rating. And it's adult."

— Guillermo del Toro[14]

Guillermo del Toro at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con International promoting the film

Del Toro and Robbins wrote the original spec script after the release of Pan's Labyrinth in 2006. It was sold quietly to Donna Langley at Universal. Del Toro planned to direct the film, but postponed the project to make Hellboy II: The Golden Army, and then again to work on The Hobbit films. Langley suggested that del Toro produce the film for another director, but he could not find one he deemed suitable. While directing Pacific Rim, del Toro developed a good working relationship with Legendary Pictures' Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni, who asked what he wanted to do next. Del Toro sent them his screenplays for a film adaptation of At the Mountains of Madness, a Western adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo, and Crimson Peak. The producers deemed the latter "the best project for us, just the right size". Universal allowed del Toro to move the project to Legendary, with the caveat that they could put up money for a stake in the film.[18]

Del Toro called the film a "ghost story and gothic romance". He has described it as "a very set-oriented, classical but at the same time modern take on the ghost story", and said that it would allow him to play with the genres' conventions while subverting their rules.[18] He stated, "I think people are getting used to horror subjects done as found footage or B-value budgets. I wanted this to feel like a throwback."[19]

Del Toro wanted the film to honor the "grand dames" of the haunted house genre, namely Robert Wise's The Haunting and Jack Clayton's The Innocents. The director intended to make a large-scale horror film in the tradition of those he grew up watching, such as The Omen, The Exorcist, and The Shining. He cited the latter as "another Mount Everest of the haunted house movie", praising the high production values and Stanley Kubrick's control over the large sets.[18]

British playwright Lucinda Coxon was enlisted to rewrite the script with del Toro, in hopes of bringing it a "proper degree of perversity and intelligence", but she is not credited on the finished film.[19]

Benedict Cumberbatch and Emma Stone were originally cast, but both dropped out of the production. Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska took over their respective roles.[20][21][22][23] The film was titled Haunted Peak while under production, a title used only for the studio booking.[24] In the summer of 2013, Burn Gorman joined the cast in a cameo role.[14]

In October 2013, Chastain went through a full-body cast process for the film. She posted pictures on her Facebook of her getting her head, torso, and fists cast.[25][26] Composer Fernando Velázquez composed the film's score.[27] Callum Greene, Jon Jashni and Thomas Tull helped produce the film.[28][29]


Principal photography began in Toronto at Pinewood Toronto Studios on February 10, and ended on May 14, 2014.[30] On April 28, filming started on Queen Street South, between Main Street and King Street in Hamilton, Ontario. That section of roadway was closed to traffic and covered in topsoil to assist in the look of the setting. The gothic-looking Scottish Rite building to the west figured prominently.[31][4][32] Filming also took place in Kingston, Ontario on April 14, 2014.[33] The film features PJ Harvey's cover of "Red Right Hand".[34]


On January 30, 2014, it was announced that the film would be released on October 16, 2015.[6]


At the San Diego Comic-Con International on July 23, 2014, del Toro helped create props for the Legendary Pictures booth by allowing fans to walk through snow-covered gates, and a gallery of props from the set and costumes from the film, including a bloody knife and moth print in the wallpaper that spell out the word "fear".[35][36] On February 13, 2015, the first trailer for the film was released online.[37] On May 13, 2015, the second trailer was released online, together with an international trailer featuring alternate material.[38]

On June 16, 2015, four character posters were released, featuring the four main cast members.[39] On July 6, 2015, four alternate character posters were released, less than a week prior to Legendary Pictures' Crimson Peak panel at San Diego Comic-Con International.[40]

On July 11th, 2015 John Murdy, creative director of Universal Studios Hollywood's Halloween Horror Nights, announced that the movie would be adapted into a maze for the 2015 season. A novelization of the film, by Nancy Holder, will be released on October 20th, 2015. Publisher Titan Books had previously published the novelization of del Toro's film Pacific Rim.

Theatrical run

As of October 18, 2015, Crimson Peak has grossed $12.9 million in North America and $13.4 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $26.3 million, against a budget of $55 million.[2]

In the United States and Canada, the film opened simultaneously with Bridge of Spies, Goosebumps, and Woodlawn, on October 16, 2015, in 3,501 theaters as well as IMAX and premium large formats.[41] Pre-release tracking projected the film to open to around $15–20 million.[42][43] It made $855,000 from its early Thursday night showings at 2,178 theaters, and $5.2 million on its opening day. [44][45] It finished off the weekend with $12.8 million from 2,984 theaters falling in line with the projections. IMAX comprised $2.3 million of the opening gross from 365 IMAX theaters. The film suffered from a very competitive PG-13 adult market where such films as The Martian and Bridge of Spies were overperforming. Females repped 60% of the film's audience with 55% 25 or older.[46][47]

Outside North America, Crimson Peak will open in 66 countries. It earned $13.6 million in its opening weekend from 55 territories.[48] It opened at No. 2 in Russia and the CIS ($2.6 million; behind The Martian and Spain ($1.1 million) and No. 5 in the U.K., Ireland and Malta ($1.5 million).[48] There are 11 more territories still to release. Next weekend, it opens in Belgium, Greece, Israel, Italy, Poland Portugal and Trinidad.[48]

Critical reception

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (October 2015)

Crimson Peak has received generally mixed to positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 69%, based on 137 reviews, with an average rating of 6.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Crimson Peak offers an engaging – albeit somewhat slight – diversion driven by a delightfully creepy atmosphere and director Guillermo del Toro's brilliant knack for unforgettable visuals."[49] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 67 out of 100, based on 36 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[50] On CinemaScore, audiences gave the film an average grade of "B-" on an A+ to F scale.[51]

After attending an early screening, horror writer Stephen King called the film "gorgeous and just fucking terrifying", and said it "electrified" him like Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead, whose distribution he helped secure with a rave review in 1982. King's son, writer Joe Hill, called Crimson Peak "del Toro's blood-soaked Age of Innocence, a gloriously sick waltz through Daphne du Maurier territory".[52] IGN reviewer Scott Collura gave the film an 8.5 out of 10 'Great' score, saying "Featuring memorable performances, amazing production design, and a hard edge that is too often lacking in horror films these days, it nonetheless also manages to subvert some long-standing tropes about the Gothic romance genre which inspired it."[53] Writing on, Sheila O'Malley said "Watching Del Toro's films is a pleasure because his vision is evident in every frame. Best of all, though, is his belief that "what terrifies him will terrify others." He's right."[54]


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