Okay, you can count that as damned by faint praise, but here's the thing: I love Gothic stories. When I first heard about this movie, I was really excited about it. Then I saw some trailers and worried it would be too gory for me (I do suspense but not gore). And then the reviews weren't great, but . . . My love of all things Gothic (yes, okay, and Tom Hiddleston, at whom I would gladly stare for a couple hours regardless of what else was happening on the screen) won out and I decided to give it a try with the reasoning I could always turn it off if it was too bloody.
I made it through.
So. The movie. It features Tom Hiddleston as
his sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain, who will always be Murph to me) keeps harshing his mellow by forcing him to marry wealthy women and then kill them.
This time he contrives to marry Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), only daughter of a wealthy merchant in New York. Edith is frowned on by others who think the taint of industry smells bad, so it's quite the upset when the dashing baronet plucks her out of all the furbelows and frills of society. They waltz and everything!
When Edith's father dies is a terrible bathroom accident (this was one scene that was nearly too bloody for me), she ends up with all his money and a new husband. Also a really creepy sister-in-law.
Things go from there. Edith's ability to see ghosts helps her navigate the dangers of her new position. And while it's pretty clear early on what the truth is [highlight here if you want to know: Lucille and Thomas are incestuous lovers], I actually expected a bit more supernatural underpinning, an Elizabeth Bathory kind of thing or something. In the end, I found it rather mundane in comparison.
But I still enjoyed it. More than I expected to anyway. It's true, I suppose, that whenever you have low to no expectations, you can't be disappointed. Only happily surprised. So while this is no bright star in the galaxy of filmmaking, I think it has the potential to be a cult favorite among certain circles. Very small circles. Maybe just me. But that's okay, too.