Color Out of Space Review
Joely Richardson as Theresa Gardner
Madeleine Arthur as Lavinia Gardner
Elliot Knight as Ward Phillips
Directed by Richard Stanley
Color Out of Space inspection:
Richard Stanley was once among the most prime directors to keep an eye on after the cult hits Hardware and Dust Devil, but became the middle of one of the most infamous blacklistings in Hollywood after being fired from the notorious 1996 adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau after only three days of production. Now, 23 years later, the South African director is creating his feature-length comeback with a new adaptation of the acclaimed H.P. Lovecraft short story Color Out of Space, and it may just be his best work yet.
Set in the rural hills near Arkham, Massachusetts, the story follows the Gardner family, patriarch artist Nathan (Cage), financial adviser Theresa (Richardson), occult-obsessed Lavinia (Arthur) and space-intrigued Benny (Meyer) as they exchange their town lives for a more peaceful life in the woods after inheriting Nathan’s dad’s estate. As they all attempt to adapt to the new secluded lifestyle, a meteorite crashes in the neighboring woods, which affects the water supply and plant life in the area and brings with it something frightening that threatens the Gardner family and the few neighbors they have from the hills.
Was a fan of Lovecraft since childhood when his mother read his stories , there are few people better to have developed an adaptation of the writer than Stanley, who took the six years since announcing the project to properly develop the story in a way that would remain faithful to the source material while also updating it in a way to shock even the most veteran of genre enthusiasts. The atmosphere remains eerie and willful, keeping the puzzle and giving hints about what’s happening while focusing on the madness the Gardner family all expertise in a variety of forms.
Among the updates to the source material is some of the transformations the meteorite causes after its Earthly arrival, which as a horror viewer that is frequent end up being some of the most shocking and horrifying visuals set to display the genre has ever seen. Grotesque in a manner that’s both prudent to the topics of the story while horrifying to Stanley, the eye and his team masterfully use results and brief glimpses to toy with viewers’ imaginations in the terrors and send them to unsettling territory.
Besides the terrifying visuals and eerie story, the film is supported by powerful work from its cast, namely that of Cage as the patriarch seeking to hold his family together and Richardson as a mother struggling to adapt to her rural lifestyle for the sake of her marriage and her children. Practically madness at this point’s virtuoso, cage, does so in a fashion than normal that keeps his descent heartbreaking to watch and compelling and yet explores a character trait.
The only problems with the film come from the forms of the beginning and the ending, which finds the writing to be a tad more lackluster and unoriginal compared to the rest of the script. In setting up our personalities and wrap up the story, Stanley and co-writer Scarlett Amaris have drafted lines that feel too similar to other works in the horror genre and do not feel like honest representations of the deeper struggles and conflicts they are all going through as the story progresses.
Overall, the film proves to be a compelling and shocking bit of existential and cosmic terror that is skillfully, and quite beautifully, led by Stanley and well-acted by its stars and confirms that he is still a directorial force to observe and that Cage may have finally found a new genre that is fantastic for his talents.
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US Release Date: February 14, 2020
Starring: Ben Schwartz, James Marsden
Directed By: Jeff Fowler
Synopsis: Based on the global blockbuster videogame franchise from Sega, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG tells the story of the world’s speediest hedgehog as he embraces his new home.
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