Spoilers will keep to the lower spectrum for this one.
Nicholas Cage stars on a horror film based on a short story by H.P. Lovecraft. There’s no way I was missing this film. I haven’t seen Nicholas Cage in a leading role since Mandy, back in Fantasia 2018. Back then I said that movie was freakish enough to come close to Cage himself. This one works in a different way. I’ll keep spoilers lite. That should already tell you which way I’m leaning on this one.
Color Out Of Space (2019) is directed by Richard Stanley with a screenplay by him and Scarlett Amaris based on the short story of the same name by H. P. Lovecraft. This adaptation takes place in modern times. Nathan (Nicholas Cage) and Theresa Gardner (Joely Richardson) have left the big city for the country and restored Nathan’s father old farm. She has survived breast cancer and is trying to work remotely as a stockbroker while Nathan is trying to grow vegetables and raise alpacas.
Completing the Gardner household are Wiccan daughter Lavinia (Madeleine Arthur), stoner son Benny (Brendan Meyer) and shy and withdrawn younger son Jack (Julian Hillard). Lavinia and Benny are known to escape from their chores. Benny is getting high from weed obtained from local hermit Ezra (Tommy Chong). Lavinia performs a ritual to keep her mother healthy and runs into Ward, a hydrologist doing a survey for a future dam. Their lives change as a meteorite impacts their front yard causing strange changes in their surroundings and the Gardners themselves.
The setup feels a bit paint-by-numbers at the start. The phenomena is first noticed by the children, who are ignored by their parents. Lavinia and Benny act self-absorbed and Jack is getting closer and closer to the well thinking someone is talking to him there. It feels a lot like an eighties’ movie at the start. The payoff, when it starts, has no false jumpscares but a crazy descent into horror. The craziness promised by the first half is delivered with interest by the second half.
The cinematography of this film is extremely, radiantly and brightly colorful. There’s something both beautiful and terrifying about that hue of pink. It’s a bit hard to get it out of your head. Gore and body horror are shown in small dosis, with only a few full reveals and mostly kept in the dark. Standout performances are Nicholas Cage as Nathan and Madeleine Arthur as Lavinia, whom we follow from the starting scenes to when the entire place is swallowed by rampant madness.
It’s flawed, for sure. As it progresses, or rather devolves, into technicolor insanity I once or twice flipped on whether I was going to end up liking it or not. As characters go mental left and right I couldn’t help but be engaged in the scenes in front of me. While some movies take the graphic CGI to insane levels making me wait impatiently for the credits, this one took insanity to a crazy color nightmare level while all I wanted was to see more. I don’t want to overhype it, I had some issues with the storytelling. You’re better with moderate to low expectations going in, and for some it might still be too much crazy to handle or care.
Highly recommended to Cage and Lovecraft fans, specially if you’re intrigued by horror from an innovative perspective. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea so casual fans should be in a very experimental mood to watch it. Families should know that contrary to mainstream, kids and pets are not safe in this feature. The best advice I can give you before watching this film is don’t get too attached to anyone.
That will do for now.