The A.V. Club
Crimson Peak may end up being brought down by its own marketing, but to be fair, it’s a difficult movie to sell. Billed as a haunted-house horror movie, it’s actually a violent R-rated romance geared toward the sensibilities of “14-year-old bookish girls,” as director Guillermo Del Toro described it in a recent preview screening. As in Del Toro’s chilling The Devil’s Backbone, the apparitions represent the sins of the past, writ here on a familial instead of a national scale. As such, they’re more tragic than terrifying, which, on the one hand, perfectly fits the swooning Gothic atmosphere. On the other, this means the scariest scenes of the movie appear early on, with diminishing thrills after that.