Making a version of Du Maurier’s REBECCA with the gothic ramped up should be the height of futility. It’s like remaking THE GODFATHER and aiming for even more mafia-y, or SPEED in a way much more fast bus-y. Surely REBECCA – both novel and Hitchcock film – are plenty gothic enough. But here we are, the young innocent bride, the older husband with a past who’s stolen her heart and the older lady who is immovable part and parcel of the remote old house they live in. It’s REBECCA alright, but this time with the gothic turned up to 11.
Mia Wasikowska is a young bookish lady who meets Tom Hiddleston and his sister, Jessica Chastain in Buffalo, New York. He wins her affections despite the genteel poverty of his condition, and after the death of her father whisks her over to England and the large family house in Cumberland (presumably not far from the sausage factory) but all is not quite what it seems.
Most of the films I write about on this blog are Hammer Horrors. I’m a big fan. And this really does feel like the kind of film Hammer could have made if it had more ambition and a bigger budget. This is a quality Hammer Horror production, one that’s gripping and scary in equal measure, and understands that having adult themes doesn’t just mean titillation.
The performances are great, it looks absolutely fantastic, and if the script is maybe a little predictable then that’s fine. I guessed the direction it was going, and I was more than happy to have it take me there. I really wouldn’t have thought that REBECCA with the gothic accentuated was needed or achievable, but I should have trusted that in Guillermo del Toro’s hands, anything is possible.
None of them could really be described as gothic, but they’re damn good nonetheless. There’s a free collection of my short stories available here.