Name an author that brings terror and a sense of foreboding with all his work. Many will name H.P. Lovecraft. Now if there was an actor who could match the insanity of the world Lovecraft built in his deranged tomes who do you think it would be? If you thought Nicolas Cage you are correct and now with director Richard Stanley we’ve got a full-on Cage performance with a full-on Lovecraft story. This is Color Out of Space.
Color Out of Space follows the Gardners. They are a family that moved from the big city to Nathan Gardners (Cages) fathers farm. This family consisting of Theresa (Joely Richardson) and Nathan Gardner (Cage) and their three children Lavinia (Madeleine Arthur), Benny (Brendan Meyer) and Jack (Julian Hillard) have found a kind of peace out in the sticks.
A Color Out of Space
And then it happens. Out of nowhere, as if summoned by some unforeseen forces a meteorite collides with the Gardner farm and in a sense with the Gardner family.
I wasn’t ready for Color Out of Space, and I loved it. Going into the film all I knew was Nicolas Cage and H.P. Lovecraft had finally joined forces across time and space. After all, if you’ve been keeping up with Cage’s filmography he’s been steadily preparing for this story. If you’ll cast your mind back to 2018 we had the highly entertaining Mandy which was Lovecraft-inspired. Well if Mandy was Cage dipping his toe into the madness Color Out of Space his him doing a belly flop straight into the deep end.
What immediately engaged me with this pseudo horror was the relationships fostered within the Gardner family. They were dysfunctional, at times nasty to each but it all came from a place of love. While brother and sister duo Benny and Livida throw verbal barbs at each other you can feel a real sense of comradery and warmth. Hardworking Theresa is supported by her husband Nathan who tries to keep her connected to her passion even if living in the middle of nowhere makes it quite difficult to connect with her clients around the world. Cage and Richardson sell this relationship on the mend since Theresa has recently recovered from breast cancer. Then there is Jack-Jack who everyone just adores. It’s a family dynamic we’ve seen done before but it’s done well and sets the stage for the horror to befall them as you watch on powerless to stop it.
Director Richard Stanley and his cast were absolutely brilliant. I am so intrigued to find out how Stanley got the performance he got out of young Julian Hillard who has the task to try and understand H.P. Lovecraft at the age of eight. He has a particular scene late into the film that I can’t imagine was fun for him to film.
The beautiful and the monstrous
Surrounding this great cast are some sumptuous and unsettling visuals accompanied by a hypnotic score. At the beginning of the film, Theresa states they must be within a dream and honestly between the outlandish strings the score hits and the eccentric imagery I can understand what director Richard Stanley wished to convey to his audience. The world that is invaded by this meteorite is turned upside down and its people are changed forever and there were times when I felt sick to my stomach due to the imagery onscreen.
I honestly haven’t felt this way since I saw The Thing as a young lad and I loved it.
If there were any issues I would say when everything kicks off in the third act there is a certain point the film should have ended instead it goes on for possibly ten minutes too long losing some of the urgency it had built up. There is also the fact that if you don’t buy into the lunacy of this film from early on it won’t have you when it goes full schizo in the third act.
Color Out of Space is not everyone’s cup of tea but for those that enjoy this particular brand will find it refreshing and in my opinion, addictive. Stay tuned to Scannain for more news, and reviews, and reporting on the film industry in Ireland and abroad.