Starting off in Buffalo, NY, at the turn of the 20th century, Mia Wasikowska stars as an aspiring writer named Edith Cushing (nod to Hammer Horror thespian Peter Cushing , no doubt) is struggling to get publishers to accept her ghost story novel in an era in which female authors are relegated to the romance genre. Thought to be on a clear trajectory to become a spinster due to her independent spirit, Edith is soon courted by a well-to-do British man named Thomas Sharpe. The two eventually marry, and Edith uproots to Thomas’s massive but rundown mansion in England that has been built upon a mountain made out of red clay, which has caused the bottom floors to seep eerie blood-like ooze. Also living there is Thomas’s enigmatic sister Lady Lucille, who seems to have tendrils in every corner, including in her brother’s mind and heart. Proverbial skeletons fill the closet, but actual ghosts too, as the promising beginning of a new life may also come to a quick end for Edith, if she doesn’t keep her wits about her.