Color Out of Space (2019)

[8.0]

Cult director Richard Stanley (Hardware) delivers a dread-inducing adaptation H.P. Lovecraft’s Color Out of Space. Nicolas Cage and Joely Richardson play a couple who have moved their teenage children (Madeleine Arthur and Brendan Meyer) out of the big city and into the New England boonies to slow down the pace of life. But when a meteorite crashes in their front yard and begins affecting the flora and fauna, their lives don’t just slow down — they transform into something all together different. And horrifying.

With Lovecraft stories, I’m always afraid the horror will be too internalized and not visceral enough. Well, that’s not a problem here. It takes a little while longer than I desired for Color Out of Space to show its hand and dazzle, but when the shit hits the fan in this movie, it’s pretty fucking dazzling. I did not know what shape and form evil would take in this movie, so I will not rob you of that pleasure — except to say Color Out of Space has an unholy disregard for flesh that you may find hard to shake.

Cage is well suited for his role of the family patriarch, a role not dissimilar from Jack Nicholson’s in The Shining, especially as his mind unravels under the influence of the meteorite. He becomes as dangerous to his family as the otherworldly manifestations around them. Richardson’s role is largely thankless, but God bless her for participating in some horrific imagery. The teenagers, Arthur and Meyer, are very competent — particularly Arthur, the movie’s real main character. Tommy Chong makes a special appearance as a hippie who lives in a hovel on the family’s property.

Richard Stanley strikes a terrific balance between suggestion and explicitness with the material, and succeeds wildly in escalating the horror and tension throughout the last half of the movie. Color Out of Space begins on a remote farm with a small family, but ends in a way similar to Romero’s Night of the Living Dead by hinting at worldwide apocalypse. The film does a great job letting us watch horror grow, like a plant or a dirty thought — blossoming into what’s probably one of the best horror films of the last few years.

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