The Tom Hiddleston Horror Epic On Netflix That’s Become A New Classic

By Jeffrey Rapaport | Updated

crimson peak
Tom Hiddleston in Crimson Peak (2015)

Crimson Peak, the horror title starring the Marvel Universe’s Loki himself, Tom Hiddleston, earned itself a devoted, albeit cult following upon its release in 2015. But cult members and Tom Hiddleston stans rejoice: the gothic romance, directed by Pan’s Labyrinth maestro, Guillermo del Toro, ranks among the most exciting titles heating up Netflix’s current horror and fantasy lineup. 

Crimson Peak – directed by Guillermo del Toro and starring Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, and Mia Wasikowska – is streaming on Netflix.

Written by Del Toro and industry-veteran screenwriter Matthew Robbins, the spooky tale captivates audiences, offering oversized portions of beauty and terror, both commanding a new audience and giving other competitive titles streaming on Netflix a run for their money. 

But why is Crimson Peak a must-watch? 

Well, for starters: Tom Hiddleston, the Thor icon, whose stellar performance is not to be missed. 

In this Del Toro period piece (of sorts), Alice in Wonderland’s Mia Wasikowska plays an upstart author who, upon marrying, relocates to an isolated Gothic mansion in Cumberland, England, to join captivating-yet-creepy inventor husband, played by Hiddleston. Surprise of surprises, the house harbors dark secrets, and our hero soon finds herself accompanied by genuinely terrifying apparitions. 

crimson peak
Crimson Peak (2015)

She is also haunted–well, joined–by a fantastic cast. The star-studded lineup includes Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty and Interstellar), Charlie Hunnam (Jax from Sons of Anarchy!), and Jim Beaver (who would go on to feature in another Del Toro work, Nightmare Alley), whose performances all deserve attention if not accolades. Each gives their all in Crimson Peak, ensuring streamers will be on the edge of their collective seats, equal parts scared and spellbound. 

“Gorgeous and just f—ing terrifying.”

-Stephen King’s praise for Crimson Peak

It does not hurt that acclaimed director Del Toro, a master of the fantastic, horrific, and fantastical-horrific, is at the helm. His signature touch characterizes the film from start to finish, including and especially the Mexican director’s penchant for creating visually stunning, deeply atmospheric settings.

Alongside this, Netflix bingers will be happy to note his abiding love for blending romance and horror (remember the love story, simultaneously touching and creepy, between human and swamp-thing in Del Toro’s The Shape of Water?) is at play in Crimson Peak, too.

Del Toro is also a devotee of classic Hollywood, and this Netflix flick is undoubtedly a nodding homage to such classics as The Haunting, The Innocents, and The Shining–while, of course, personalized by the director’s unmistakable sensibility. Indeed, among Del Toro’s hallmarks are elaborate sets, impressive costumes, jaw-dropping, real-life special effects–all of which are on display here, and another remarkable product of his Canada-based Pinewood Toronto Studios. 

Needless to say, his meticulous attention to detail enhances Crimson Peak’s creepy atmosphere. And Hiddleston shines, delivering a performance to remember. Sympathetic, chilling, charming, and conflicted, his character–inventor-with-a-secret Thomas Sharpe–pairs perfectly with his new bride, protagonist Edith Cushing, Wasikowska, whose determination and vulnerability are hard to look away from.

Unsurprisingly, Crimson Peak’s excellent production value, direction, and performances nabbed it multiple awards.

Similarly deft and, for her own part, scary: Jessica Chastain as the controlling, protective, and potentially deadly sister of Sharpe/Hiddleston.  

In 2015, critics took note, and many lauded Crimson Peak. The film holds a 73 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, derived from 284 reviews, while Metacritic assigned the film a respectable 66 out of 100, based on reviews from 37 critics. One early proponent was none other than Stephen King, who gushed that the movie was “gorgeous and just f—ing terrifying.”

Crimson Peak (2015)

Perhaps employing less colorful language but similarly supportive was Sheila O’Malley, who wrote a glowing review of Roger Ebert’s website and awarded the film a perfect score, four out of four stars. Unsurprisingly, Crimson Peak’s excellent production value, direction, and performances nabbed it multiple awards. These include Best Horror Film, Best Supporting Actress (for Chastain), and Best Production Design at the 42nd Saturn Awards.

While not as gripping as a Gothic ghost story, the film’s history is nonetheless intriguing in its own right. Initially penned by Del Toro and Robbins as a spec script in 2006, following the release of Pan’s Labyrinth, the project experienced several delays and notable casting changes. Ultimately, Hiddleston and Wasikowska stepped in for equally beloved Benedict Cumberbatch and Emma Stone, who were considered, for a time, attached to the project. 

Tom Hiddleston, of course, we all know and love from Loki and the Thor films. The English actor also memorably played F. Scott Fitzgerald in Woody Allen’s romantic comedy Midnight in Paris before tackling the role of country music icon Hank Williams in the biopic I Saw The Light. 

He is unmissable here, in Crimson Peak.