My quick rating - 7,4/10. This was the movie for me to see on Halloween this year, that is for sure. As usual, Guillermo del Toro visually stuns the audience with every single scene. The locations that are presented are an absolute marvel. Granted a film cannot be just a national geographic on location shoot alone and this film delivers. The story itself is a mixture of two stories really, one that is ghost story and the other that is romance/thriller.
The Gothic/romance part of this story follows a young American woman (Mia Wasikowska)who is born into wealth yet aspires for her own identity, writing. She falls head over heels for a "Baronette" (Tom Hiddleston) who seems to be mysteriously enamored with her.
The ghost story part revolves around the spirits off those past hanging onto a particular place or feeling which del Toro typically incorporates into the story more then being the focus of it. That being said, the creatures when used look very creepy and startle with their appearance and on queue sound that makes the viewer jump on a few occasions. Not many directors understand how to blend CGI and practical effects in such a seamless way.
Now the basis is set and fans of his previous work may complain since there are two totally different types of del Toro films, huge Hollywood blockbusters such as Pacific Rim and lesser known Spanish horror films such as Devils Backbone. There are more examples of each, but you get the point. This movie is more or less what happens when these worlds collide. Now we have both and I, for one as a fan, am grateful. The story itself may be a bit obvious at times but the way the supernatural helps the audience through is so brilliantly done, that you may have forgotten you guessed parts 10 minutes prior. This is also assisted by extremely good performances of which the show is stolen by Jessica Chastain, playing Lucille, as a dark and seductive character. Here she plays the sister of the Baronette Tom Sharpe. Without giving further away to this film, I will say that everything you would want from a film are all here (minus a complex plot). The scares that del Toro can so simply yet effectively extract from an audience is present along with all the vibrant use of color and sound to contrast the changing moods. Not heavy on the horror or the romance, just a perfect balance of the two making this a worthwhile film for any audience that appreciates quality film making.
I applaud del Toro for coming back with such a film after his Pacific Rim undeservedly bombed in the theaters. Welcome to his world which he crafts so well and enjoy the ride.