A noteworthy observation to set the mood of the film is its limited color palette. Red seems to be tied to murder, black used for the majority of the woodwork at Allerdale Hall is tied to bleakness or morbidity, and Edith is usually clad in light, white garments to emphasize her innocence. The Sharpes are elegantly associated with indigo and deep crimson for a sense of intrigue. The gruesome, red specters bring even more mystery to the story.
The real story of Crimson Peak has a slow start but the romance between Edith Cushing (played by Mia Wasikowska) and Sir Thomas Sharpe (played by Tom Hiddleston) is certainly there. The curious and budding author is captivated by the classy newcomers, the Sharpes. Edith shows underlying excitement, heartbreak, pain, and an overall air of virtue, all perfectly executed by Wasikowska on Del Toro’s vision set. Thomas Sharpe, as played by Hiddleston, is torn and deep but releases his real feelings slowly as he realizes his love for Edith is real. In contrast, Thomas’s sister Lucille (played by Jessica Chastain), is the more distant and sharp-witted sibling. Chastain makes Lucille believably vile and sinister; she’d rather get what she wants than work for the benefit of others. Crimson Peak’s actors make the skin crawl and the heart feel sorrow.
The turns included in the film build up to its climax in an uncover of the truth and a struggle for survival. Edith is fighting her way out of Allerdale Hall while in a weakened state; she’s resourceful and struggles like a butterfly in a spider’s web. From midway through the film the audience knows the Sharpe’s are a creepy couple but their backstory reveals much more than a need for wealth. A need for love and freedom from the past is yearned for by Thomas and is given the chance to have it because of Edith. Crimson Peak displays its fortitude for drama.
Crimson Peak included themes of identity, abuse, and gender roles. It is presumed during the time period of this film, that women are weak and emotional but Edith far from weak as she is passionate and intelligent. Thomas Sharpe breaks the barrier that a gentleman must remain stiff or unbending but is controlled by Lucille and shows remorse for the events in his life. He was willing to show vulnerability and kindness for the person he loves. The light versus dark in this film is mystifying but it is a sad fight, when the past won’t let go.