Edith Cushing (Wasikowska) is an aspiring writer who laments at ever being taken seriously. A bright, sensible, middle class girl who understands her world very well, she toys with the idea of using a male pseudonym to enhance her publishing chances. All this is forgotten when she is seduced into marriage by the devilishly handsome Thomas Sharpe (Hiddleston) and whisked away to the crumbling, sinking ruins that is his family’s estate in England.
Once at the estate, too late she realises that she will not be Mistress of the Manor as her new sister-in-law Lucille (Chastain) has no intention of relinquishing the title. Edith will not even have a set of house keys, for her own safety she is told, so she must wander through the house silently wondering what all those creaks and odd noises are.
The house is a character itself with its endless hallways and rooms, the red earth oozing through the floorboards as the house sinks and the huge, gaping hole in the roof where the snow literally falls right through, pooling into a pile that never seems to seep or get sludgey. The house is seriously creepy and intimidating. How they ever kept a fire going is beyond me.
I loved this movie. I loved the Gothic romance over the actual horror. Sure the ghosts were scary and those red bloody things were gross but the true horror lay within. Without giving too much away, this is one f**ked up family with bodies buried in every dark corner and under every creaky floorboard. It is often said of old houses ‘if these walls could talk’. Well these walls can. And do! You just have to know where to look and what to ask.
Although the script was a little lacking in parts, it was bristling with tension. Horror tension, secrets tension, sexual tension, desperation tension. It was all very intense.
Wasikowska is perfectly cast as the sweet and demure Edith. She is one of my favourite young actresses and one to watch. Oh and she’s an Aussie which I love even more. Hiddleston is wonderful as the mysterious Baronet but it is Chastain who encapsulates all this story is.
While Edith and Thomas have their very defined male and female energies, Lucille is a mixture of both. Cold and calculating, she dominates her brother but is still restrained by society’s expectations of what a woman should be.
It all comes to a head in the third act when everyone begins to act of their own accord with devastating results.
If you are after a horror story, try the new Paranormal movie (out tomorrow I think). But if you want a true gothic horror slash romance with fabulous scenery and tension so high you could breathe and see their world shatter, this is the movie for you.
Love Flick xx
Director : Guillermo del Toro
Starring : Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam, Jim Beaver, Burn Gorman, Leslie Hope, Doug Jones, Jonathan Hyde
Running Time : 119 minutes
Release Date : In Cinemas Now