So Crimson Peak, wasting no time, starts out with the death of Baby Mia Wasikowska's mom! ...and subsequent ghostly resurrection!
MIA WASIKOWSKA'S TERRIFYING GHOST MOM: Baby! BEWARE CRIMSON PEAK!
BABY MIA WASIKOWSKA: Mom I have no idea wtf you are talking about, if you're going to completely terrify me by coming back from the dead could you maybe ... be more specific .....?
MIA WASIKOWSKA'S TERRIFYING GHOST MOM: Sorry, kiddo, that's all I got for you.
...and now we fast-forward ten years! To when Aspiring Young Nouveau Riche Victorian Bluestocking Mia Wasikowska is trucking around with her GIANT GOTHIC MANUSCRIPT attempting to foist it off on publisher friends of her dad's.
MIA WASIKOWSKA: No, you don't understand! The ghosts are a METAPHOR!
BECCA: Bless you, Victorian Bluestocking Mia Wasikowska, for giving me a line to shout in my head at the screen for the entire rest of the film.
MIA WASIKOWSKA'S BLUSTERY INDUSTRIALIST FATHER: Here is a symbolically significant pen, baby! It is mightier than the sword.
MIA WASIKOWSKA: You know what's mightier than the pen? The typewriter, which I will use to rewrite my manuscript without any traces of girly handwriting and submit it under a pseudonym. YEAH!
Charlie Hunnam is also there, hanging around pining after Victorian Bluestocking Mia Wasikowska. He is an unsexy optometrist. A rich optometrist! With mean society parents!
CHARLIE HUNNAM'S MEAN MOM: Mia Wasikowska wants to grow up to be a SPINSTER like JANE AUSTEN!
MIA WASIKOWSKA: Actually I want to be a WIDOW like MARY SHELLEY!
CHARLIE HUNNAM'S MEAN GIRL MOM: Well, OK, I mean, this is just one more reason I am not into the idea of you marrying my son.
MIA WASIKOWSKA: Fortunately there is a sexy sinister baronet in town whom I am going to be witheringly condescending about in this conversation before having met him, therefore basically GUARANTEEING that we will meet and fall in love!
CUE: SEXY SINISTER BARONET TOM HIDDLESTON, who reads two sentences of Mia Wasikowska's manuscript upside down during a meet-cute and is like "THIS SPEAKS TO ME LIKE NOTHING EVER HAS," because he is well aware that the way to a Victorian bluestocking's heart is through her prose.
SEXY SINISTER BARONET TOM HIDDLESTON: So maybe I can come over later to workshop your romance plotline?
MIA WASIKOWSKA: *__* <3 <3 <3 *____*
Sexy Sinister Baronet Tom Hiddleston is in town to meet with Mia Wasikowska's blustery industrialist father to try and raise money for some kind of wacky Victorian mining machine on his tiny sinister Victorian estate, but this does not go well.
MIA WASIKOWSKA'S BLUSTERY INDUSTRIAL FATHER: In AMERICA we don't believe in PRIVILEGE! We believe in HARD WORK and BOOTSTRAPS!
SEXY SINISTER BARONET TOM HIDDLESTON: What about fancy Victorian Gothic houses full of dramatic scenery, incest and dead wives?
MIA WASIKOWSKA'S BLUSTERY INDUSTRIAL FATHER: We don't believe in those EITHER!
MIA WASIKOWSKA: I believe in those. *__*
At this point it's time for Mia Wasikowska to get another visit from her terrifying ghost mom.
MIA WASIKOWSKA'S TERRIFYING GHOST MOM: Beware Crimson Peak!
MIA WASIKOWSKA: Really, nothing more specific? Not 'Beware leaving home to marry penniless and sinister strangers,' or 'Beware Tom Hiddleston, he's literally artistically arranging himself in your foyer to best aesthetic affect as we speak?'
MIA WASIKOWSKA'S TERRIFYING GHOST MOM: Look, kiddo, I don't write the script.
Anyway then Mia Wasikowska comes downstairs and sees Sexy Sinister Baronet Tom Hiddleston arranged artistically in the foyer -- it was a very beautiful pose, we all admired it as we burst out laughing -- and he sweeps her off her feet and into a party where they dance a sexy Victorian waltz to the envy of all Charlie Hunnam's Mean Girl relatives!
(The waltz sequence was AMAZING, it is one of the best waltz sequences I have ever seen on film.)
Also at the party is Sexy Sinister Baronet Tom Hiddleston's Even More Sinister Sister, Jessica Chastain, ready to BRING IT in the most Gothic dresses imaginable.
EVEN MORE SINISTER JESSICA CHASTAIN: I see you like butterflies.
MIA WASIKOWSKA: Yes ...?
EVEN MORE SINISTER JESSICA CHASTAIN: I like moths. Moths that eat butterflies.
MIA WASIKOWSKA: OK....
EVEN MORE SINISTER JESSICA CHASTAIN: The moths are a metaphor.
MIA WASIKOWSKA: Yes, I'm aware.
So there's some more seduction, and also a scene with Sad Optometrist Charlie Hunnam that establishes that a.) both he and Mia Wasikowska believe in ghosts (metaphorical and non-metaphorical) and b.) he would like to grow up to be Sherlock Holmes.
MEANWHILE, SEXY SINISTER BARONET TOM HIDDLESTON: So sis, is it OK if I take back your engagement ring and use it to propose to Mia Wasikowska?
EVEN MORE SINISTER JESSICA CHASTAIN: Ugh, fine, as long as you give it back afterwards!
MEANWHILE MEANWHILE, MIA WASIKOWSKA'S BLUSTERY INDUSTRIALIST DAD: I don't LIKE that guy!
MIA WASIKOWSKA: Is it because he's English?
MIA WASIKOWSKA'S BLUSTERY INDUSTRIALIST DAD: I think it's because he gives off weird MURDER INCEST vibes!
MIA WASIKOWSKA: It's totally just because he's English, isn't it.
So Mia Wasikowska's blustery industrialist dad hires Burn Gorman, PRIVATE DETECTIVE, to dig up the dirt on the Baronet Sinister! And indeed, dirt he finds, so he promptly pays off Baronet Sinister and Sinister Sister to OFFICIALLY BREAK MIA WASIKOWSKA'S HEART.
SEXY SINISTER BARONET TOM HIDDLESTON: Mia Wasikowska, I just have to tell you PUBLICLY that I think your gothic novel is POORLY PLOTTED and the romance plotline is IMMATURE and UNREALISTIC!
MIA WASIKOWSKA: ;___;
However then someone comes and murdalizes Mia Wasikowska's blustery industrialist dad straight dead at the bathhouse, which means Sexy Sinister Baronet Tom Hiddleston is free to pop straight back up and propose marriage to her and all her lovely industrialist money!
SEXY SINISTER BARONET TOM HIDDLESTON: I'm so sorry, Mia Wasikowska! I didn't mean what i said, I'm really I'm SUPER INTO your novel and your dark, brooding, tormented hero who dangles before the heroine the tantalizing possibility of redeeming him through the power of love!
MIA WASIKOWSKA: *__* <3 <3 <3 *____*
CHARLIE HUNNAM: Something seems SUSPICIOUS about this! If you don't mind, I'd like to have a look at your father's corpse and --
MIA WASIKOWSKA: Come on, Charlie Hunnam, stop playing Sherlock Holmes and show some respect for the dead!
CHARLIE HUNNAM: I'm a doctor!
MIA WASIKOWSKA: ...you're an optometrist, man. Let it go.
And so it's away to England for the newlyweds! Goodbye, Charlie Hunnam and Charlie Hunnam's dreams of Sherlock Holmesing and Charlie Hunnam's valiant efforts at an American accent! Hello, GOTHIC MANSION WONDERLAND!
SEXY SINISTER BARONET TOM HIDDLESTON: Welcome to Gothic Mansion Wonderland, honey! Please do not mind the red oozing up from the floors, that is just our quaint signature local clay, into which the house is slowly and inevitably sinking. Please also do not mind the eerie supernatural chill, that is just because we have a giant hole in our roof.
MIA WASIKOWSKA: So .... babe, with all the money I'm bringing to our marriage, you .... couldn't use any of that to fix the giant hole in the roof?
SEXY SINISTER BARONET TOM HIDDLESTON: ...? Fix .... holes ........?
EVEN MORE SINISTER JESSICA CHASTAIN: We couldn't dream of doing any repairs. It would spoil the atmospheric charm.
SEXY SINISTER BARONET TOM HIDDLESTON: Want to take a bath? You may note the water running the color of blood at first --
MIA WASIKOWSKA: Uh-huh.
SEXY SINISTER BARONET TOM HIDDLESTON: -- but pay that no mind, it's just a little plumbing problem!
Mia Wasikowska acquires a cute puppy as soon as she arrives in Gothic Mansion Wonderland! Alas, fair warning: that puppy is a goner. She also almost immediately acquires a resident blood-dripping ghost, who starts skulking into rooms whenever she's taking a bath or a nap or otherwise clad in a Symbolic White Nightgown.
It's fine! THE GHOST IS A METAPHOR.
EVEN MORE SINISTER JESSICA CHASTAIN: Hey, Mia Wasikowska, I'm SO glad you're here with us in Gothic Mansion Wonderland! Have some
MIA WASIKOWSKA: So....you and your brother...must have had a heck of a childhood in this house, huh?
EVEN MORE SINISTER JESSICA CHASTAIN: Oh, we weren't in the house. We spent the whole time locked in the attic! Like flowers, if you will.
MIA WASIKOWSKA: Ohhhhhhhhhhhkay then.
EVEN MORE SINISTER JESSICA CHASTAIN: Ha ha! Mom. She died many years ago! Mysterious unsolved cleaver murder. I laugh every time I think about it. Anyway, would you like to look at my porn collection and talk about how much sex you haven't had with my brother yet?
MIA WASIKOWSKA: ...well, this was a nice talk but I think I must be getting back to MY GOOD FRIEND THE CREEPY BLOOD-DRIPPING GHOST OVER HERE, she will be missing me!
Hilariously, after a couple weeks of stifling Victorian marriage-without-consummation with only the Sinister Siblings for company, Mia Wasikowska is actually just so desperate for company that she's just like 'HEY TERRIFYING BLOOD-DRENCHED GHOST FRIEND, WHERE ARE YOU, LET'S HANG OUT!'
MIA WASIKOWSKA: ..... actually maybe wait I'm not that desperate after all...
TERRIFYING BLOOD-DRENCHED GHOST FRIEND: No, no, I just wanted to show you my wax cylinder collection!
(BECCA: Wax cylinders??? *___*)
MIA WASIKOWSKA: Oh hey, I bet these wax cylinders have important Gothic Mansion Wonderland Clues! Too bad I don't have a gramophone to play them back with. D:
(BECCA: YESSS this is so great! See, the real tragedy of this film is that archival audiovisual media is entirely dependent on outside mechanical equipment for playback and content representation, so as the equipment becomes obsolete, the archival media --
EVERYONE ELSE IN THE THEATER: Please shut up, Becca.)
SEXY SINISTER BARONET TOM HIDDLESTON: Hey babe, looks like it's going to snow soon! Then you really won't be able to leave the house, at all, in any way.
MIA WASIKOWSKA: GREAT.
SEXY SINISTER BARONET TOM HIDDLESTON: Then when the red of the house's accumulated sins -- sorry, I mean, the red clay stains the snow, you'll learn why it's called Crimson Peak!
MIA WASIKOWSKA: Why it's called the what??
SEXY SINISTER BARONET TOM HIDDLESTON: Crimson Peak? I mean, given the oozing red that soaks every single shot of this movie, I wouldn't have thought this would be a big surprise?
MIA WASIKOWSKA: WELL GEEZ, THANKS FOR THE HELPFUL AND SPECIFIC WARNING, MOM
MIA WASIKOWSKA'S TERRIFYING GHOST MOM: Whatever, Mia Wasikowska, I'm just a metaphor.
MIA WASIKOWSKA: Well, if I'm going to be stuck in this Gothic mess of a novel, I would like to at least get laid at some point. How about a sexy trip to the post office? We can get snowed in and finally consummate our marriage!
SEXY SINISTER BARONET TOM HIDDLESTON: Oh, I don't know about, um ... I mean, my sister doesn't like it when ....
MIA WASIKOWSKA: Look, did you mean it when you said you liked the romance in my novel or not?
SEXY SINISTER BARONET TOM HIDDLESTON: ...I did think it was hot.
So then they bang at last and everything is very nice for about two minutes, except that at the post office Mia Wasikowska finds a letter addressed to a DIFFERENT Mrs. Sexy Sinister Baronet.
MIA WASIKOWSKA: Heyyyyyyy ghost friend, would you like to give me any more hints about the secrets of Gothic Mansion Wonderland?
TERRIFYING BLOOD-DRENCHED GHOST FRIEND: Sure! Here is my gramophone, some more wax cylinders, a bunch of Dead Wife Commemorative Photography, and the giant bloody red clay pits underneath the house that most likely contain multiple bodies!
MIA WASIKOWSKA: That was very helpful, ghost friend! Also: WAUGH.
WAX CYLINDER #1: Hello! I am Sexy Sinister Baronet Tom Hiddleston's #1 wife! I asked him to get me this gramophone as a present and we are very happy together. -- wait! No, shit, we're not!
WAX CYLINDER #2: Everything has gone full Gothic and I am not into it at all.
WAX CYLINDER #3: I am wife #3, they are poisoning the tea, I REPEAT, THE DELICIOUS TEA IS IN FACT DEADLY POISON, if you're listening to this please leave immediately.
MIA WASIKOWSKA: Wait, didn't the gramophone and secret gramophone letters belong to wife #1?
WAX CYLINDER #3: In addition to all his other unfortunate qualities, Sexy Sinister Baronet Tom Hiddleston is also a regifter. >:(
MEANWHILE, ELSEWHERE IN THE HOUSE, EVEN MORE SINISTER JESSICA CHASTAIN: She found the archival media! It's time to stop kidding around and finish the job of murdalizing her.
SEXY SINISTER BARONET TOM HIDDLESTON: But ... we had sex ... and it was nice ......? Also I actually do think her novel is kind of charming ........?
EVEN MORE SINISTER JESSICA CHASTAIN: Ugh, this is why I never let you sleep with any of the other ones! You imprint like a duckling.
At this point Mia Wasikowska of course walks in on the full incest, and is like WELP, THIS DAY JUST GETS BETTER.
MIA WASIKOWSKA: Aha SO! You're not really his sister at all!
EVEN MORE SINISTER JESSICA CHASTAIN: Haha that's sweet, but no, it's the full incest. I mean, look, our abusive parents locked us in an attic for years, I don't know what they thought was going to happen. Did they never read Flowers in the Attic?
MIA WASIKOWSKA: ...well, while we're clearing the air: you also murdered your mom, right?
EVEN MORE SINISTER JESSICA CHASTAIN: Yeah! With a cleaver! :D
MIA WASIKOWSKA: And like three other former Mrs. Sexy Sinister Baronets?
EVEN MORE SINISTER JESSICA CHASTAIN: We did it for monstrous love! Cool motive, right?
MIA WASIKOWSKA: DEFINITELY STILL MURDER.
At this point Mia Wasikowska gets shoved over the balcony and is almost a goner, but fortunately Charlie Hunnam shows up just in time.
CHARLIE HUNNAM: HEY hello everyone, hi Mia Wasikowska, when the lawyer said you kept wiring to send your husband more and more money I thought it seemed sketch, so I Sherlock Holmesed around, and it turns out that this dude is already MARRIED, can you BELIEVE it? --
MIA WASIKOWSKA: ...oh, bless.
CHARLIE HUNNAM: -- and then I sailed across the Atlantic, and found the nearest village, and then I walked FOUR HOURS here in a BLIZZARD and you are clearly being POISONED and I am here to RESCUE you and --
EVEN MORE SINISTER JESSICA CHASTAIN: Yeah, this kind of petty inconvenience what I keep the kitchen knives sharp for.
So Charlie Hunnam is unfortunately stabbed before he can effect much of a rescue! Alas, Charlie Hunnam.
EVEN MORE SINISTER JESSICA CHASTAIN: Tom Hiddleston! Take my knife! It's time for you to prove your commitment to the murder incest lifestyle by finishing the job!
SINISTER SEXY BARONET TOM HIDDLESTON: pssssst hey you're a doctor, show me where to stab you so you'll be fine!
CHARLIE HUNNAM: ....a.) that is not how stabbing works, b.) I'M AN OPTOMETRIST.
But Sinister Sexy Baronet Tom Hiddleston at least makes an effort at stabbing him non-lethally, and then stows him by the Red Clay Murder Pits before charging off to attempt to rescue Mia Wasikowska!
EVEN MORE SINISTER JESSICA CHASTAIN: Mia Wasikowska, I am totally going to murder you, but first? I'm going to burn your novel in front of your VERY EYES.
MIA WASIKOWSKA: @___@
EVEN MORE SINISTER JESSICA CHASTAIN: While we're hanging out here burning pages one by one, do you want some exposition about my poor dead incest baby? No? Ah well.
MIA WASIKOWSKA: Hey, you know what's mightier than your murder cleaver?
EVEN MORE SINISTER JESSICA CHASTAIN: ...no, what?
MIA WASIKOWSKA: The pen! Booyah!
After stabbing Jessica Chastain with her dad's symbolic gift pen -- bet you forgot about that, because I totally did! -- Mia Wasikowska is all set to make a break for it, but Sinister Sexy Baronet Tom Hiddleston turns up to rescue her just in time to delay her escape.
SINISTER SEXY BARONET TOM HIDDLESTON: It's OK, I saved Charlie Hunnam, he's going to be fine!
(CHARLIE HUNNAM: *bleeding out by the clay pits*)
SINISTER SEXY BARONET TOM HIDDLESTON: Baby, I realize that our marriage got off to kind of a bad start --
MIA WASIKOWSKA: I mean, you have been poisoning me for months and have definitely helped to murder AT LEAST four people.
SINISTER SEXY BARONET TOM HIDDLESTON: -- but I really love you and I want to work things out! Remember what your Gothic novel says: bad boys are redeemable!
MIA WASIKOWSKA: My Gothic novel does say that ...
SINISTER SEXY BARONET TOM HIDDLESTON: Wait for me here just a sec! I'm going to go reason with my sister and it'll be FINE.
Spoiler: it is not fine. Goodbye, Sexy Sinister Baronet Tom Hiddleston!
And then there's a CLIMACTIC BATTLE, and Mia Wasikowska and Jessica Chastain battle their way through the snow with giant kitchen knives and cleavers while Charlie Hunnam bleeds sadly on the sidelines, and Mia Wasikowska's fluffy blonde hair and poofy white nightgown are revealed at last as BRILLIANT PROTECTIVE CAMOUFLAGE --
-- and then, at the crucial moment, Mia Wasikowska is like "LOOK, IT'S TOM HIDDLESTON'S GHOST" and then stabs Jessica Chastain while she's distracted!
THE GHOST OF SEXY SINISTER BARONET TOM HIDDLESTON: Sis, I'm .... a metaphor ..........
THE GHOST OF EVEN MORE SINISTER JESSICA CHASTAIN: Yes, I'm aware.
(TERRIFYING BLOOD-DRENCHED GHOST FRIEND: How come the ghost of Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain are the only ones who gets to stay hot postmortem? >:( )
At the end, Mia Wasikowska limps triumphantly away, towing an almost-certainly-doomed Charlie Hunnam along with her, sadder but wiser and possessed of a bunch of TOP-NOTCH fodder for her next Gothic novel!
Sadly, the house does not proceed to sink totally into the ground behind her. Come on, Guillermo del Toro! It's Gothic! It's girl vs. house! The people demand a full House of Usher ending!
(I was also a little disappointed that nobody ever got chomped up by Tom Hiddleston's cool but ultimately totally irrelevant red-clay-processing-equipment.)
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