Crimson Peak follows the story of Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), a young writer with a passion for ghost stories. Her most recent story grabs the attention of Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), who almost instantly falls for her. The two get married and ride off to Thomas' family home where he lives with his sister, Lucille (Jessica Chastain). Aside from the fact that the house itself is rather run down, the taps all initially spurting out what appears to be blood (or something of the sorts), it starts out well. But Edith slowly begins to fall suspiciously ill, and it doesn't help when there's ghosts roaming around the corridors at night, either.
The three leads, Wasikowska, Hiddleston and Chastain, are all phenomenal. Wasikowska's character isn't all that investing, but her performance undoubtably is. The problem with her character is that she's set up to be this strong, independent woman, and then as the film goes on she turns into a victim in constant need of help, and it's not until the final scene where she shows some kind of courage and even then it's not all that convincing or of her doing. It just happens and that's that.
Like I said earlier, Crimson Peak is far from a horror movie, and the horror aspects honestly feel slightly out of place at times. It's pointed out on multiple occasions that ghosts are merely a metaphor for the past, and the past is a significant theme of this movie, but the ghosts are just so pointless. They show up, they whisper a few things, they point at some other things, they creep the living shit out of Mia Wasikowska and they leave. And then repeat. They look cool, but they don't serve a purpose to the overall narrative, with the exception of one really awkward moment in the second half, and that's one of the only times the ghosts actually show up in the third act.
To sum up, Crimson Peak is a big, colourful and ambitious film with glorious set design and some really, really, really good performances, but there's a lot of style without any substance. Most of the characters aren't investing and the story is all over the place. Sorry, Guillermo, but you've been better.