Since he was catapulted to fame as Loki in 2011’s Thor, Tom Hiddleston has had a varied career in action, comedy, drama and horror. And a prominent example of the latter, Guillermo del Toro’s underperforming Crimson Peak, is now finding new life on Netflix.
The film stars Hiddleston as Sir Thomas Sharpe, a minor English nobleman who meets and marries Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), the daughter of an American businessman from whom he fails to gain finding for his mining inventions. They return to live in Sharpe’s rundown mansion with his overbearing sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain), only for Edith to discover the building is populated by restless spirits who try to warn her of some ill-defined danger she’s in.
Tom Hiddleston was cast after Benedict Cumberbatch dropped out, and while the abrasive arrogance the latter often displays in his roles would have worked for Sharpe’s sense of self-importance, the Loki actor is far better at portraying the brooding romance of the part, along with the tightly wound emotions so emblematic of British aristocracy.
Del Toro’s cinematic output isn’t the largest, consisting of ten features since his 1993 debut of vampire flick Cronos, with the most recent being 2017’s Oscar-winning dark fantasy romance The Shape of Water. His work has touched on several different kinds of horror, though, and while each of them has come with a certain gothic feel, Crimson Peak is the most overt in its homage to the genre’s classics that so inspired him.
Despite largely positive reviews, however, the movie was something of a box office disappointment upon release due to competition from big films of more established formulae such as Bridge of Spies, The Martian and Goosebumps. Nevertheless, the eerie melodrama seems to have found its niche on streaming, where its lavish visuals and sedate pace can be enjoyed in the comfort of viewers’ homes.