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  • Writer's pictureS.J.

'Color Out Of Space' Review

Nicolas Cage hugging Joely Richardson from behind on a porch
RLJE Films

I really need to be more careful about describing movies in the future since I thought 2018’s ‘Mandy’ was a weird Nicolas Cage-starring experience. With that said, Color Out Of Space from director and writer Richard Stanley was an extremely disorienting trip which was still in my mind when going to bed later. Didn’t really know what to make of it as you do with a film from time to time. It’s an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s short story of the same name and it mixes his horror tricks with his sci-fi tricks pretty seamlessly in a decent enough fashion until the very last moments.

The film makes a wise decision in that it builds up tension for quite a while. When dealing with something otherworldly, there aren’t any pre-existing rules so us, the viewers, don’t really know the characters’ relationships or the power of the impending doom. We’re mostly locked in at the farm where the Gardner family (played by Cage as the dad, Joely Richardson as the mom, Madeleine Arthur as the daughter and Brendan Meyer as the son) resides. Arthur along with Elliot Knight, who plays the hydrologist Ward who’s investigating all the weirdness, get a lot to do here and they also have good chemistry in the small moments where their characters are together.

Some of the film’s weaknesses could be perhaps due to budgetary reasons and due to the fact that the adapted material is a short form one. Budget might effect the overall cinematography as the picture itself isn’t always the most dazzling one: there’s flatness in the contrast and shadows especially inside the house and some of the framing is a bit off at times when you kind of want to see a person in full but you only get them from chest up. Where as the slow build-up to the utter alien madness is well done, the last third seems to drag on and on. Stanley clearly wanted to show every second of the SFX makeup, character outcome and colour explosions so that there’s even an ending monologue. Sometimes you just need to stop painting.

Smileys: Atmosphere, Madeleine Arthur, Elliot Knight

Frowneys: Ending, cinematography

At least it commits to being absolutely mad, worst thing would be to play it safe.


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