Before I get into this review can we please remember the wise words from the director himself:
Let’s get straight into what the film’s about – After a family tragedy aspiring author Edith leaves her home with a man named Thomas Sharpe, a man she has fallen in love with and who has proposed to her. She goes to live in England with him and his sister Lady Lucille Sharpe. The house is old and crumbling away but soon Edith discovers something even more shocking – it appears to be full of ghosts.
Me and my best friend have been looking forward to this film for ages now (I always seem to count down the days to a scary film…) and we were pumped to finally see it. We love Guillermo del Toro’s work and this film looked brilliant so we had a lot of high hopes.
I know Guillermo del Toro said it wasn’t a horror film but it obviously did have a lot of horror conventions within the film including quite a few jump scares. These worked really well and I for one jumped out of my skin a couple of times. I liked the way the ghosts moved, the way they shuffled and creaked but I don’t think I was a big fan of the way the ghosts were actually shown – I liked the woman she saw in the bathroom but I couldn’t get behind the other ones. However, my friend explained to me why they might’ve been chosen to look like that so I can understand the artistic choices behind it.
Visually the film is absolutely beautiful. All the houses, costume, everything it was just all done so amazingly. However, I’ve got to be honest that I did occasionally get a little bored. The plot overall is good and mostly interesting, especially the ending, but I did feel myself drifting off occasionally. Of course this might not necessarily be the film, I did go to quite a late screening, but it didn’t keep my attention the way that ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ and ‘Mama’ did. Visually I think this film surpasses those two but for storyline I would choose Mama.
I’ve decided to leave a fun piece of trivia on my horror reviews so here it goes – Benedict Cumberbatch was originally cast as Thomas Sharpe but had to pull out due to undisclosed reasons. Tom Hiddleston asked for Cumberbatch’s blessing before taking the role as they are good friends in real life. There. I hope you enjoyed that little fun fact.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this film to 1) horror film fans because it is an effectively scary movie but don’t expect to be shitting your pants every ten seconds because that wasn’t the intention of this film and 2) to movie nerds who love cinematography and all that because like I said, visually it is stunning.