Color Out of Space (2019)
Director (and screenplay): Richard Stanley
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Q’orianka Kilcher, Joely Richardson, Tommy Chong, Brendan Meyer, Julian Hillard, Madeleine Arthur
A town is struck by a meteorite and the fallout is catastrophic. – IMDB
SpectreVision has produced some fantastic movies in the last few years. Following the success of Mandy, Nicolas Cage joins this cast of characters of H.P. Lovecraft‘s short story of the same name’s adaptation where the little county of Arkham is hit with meteorite which lands on drops onto his character Nathan’s front yard and ends up having an effect on his family. Color Out of Space has everything that you’d expect from a SpectreVision production whether its trippy twists and visually appealing scenes and designs and creativity that explodes onto the scene. Right from the eerie start of the film, narrating through a dark forest and the secluded nature and raindrops on water, the tone of the film was set right away. Its a bit loopy and leaves a few unanswered questions at the end but that’s half of the fun of odd storylines and where it leaves some talking points.
Color Out of Space still builds its atmosphere well and gives it a mysterious thriller that gives out a lot of questions that slowly unveils itself. While the answers are never clear and this outer space influence on the family and those in close vicinity never fully explained and understood, it leaves the space for our imagination to fill in those gaps and what gives it the subtle horror. The horror is built upon gradually whether in its subtle presence or unclear motives to how its absorption into the farmland affects every living thing there. It creates some visually stunning moments and beautiful elements (yet again like the previous FNC film Little Joe) through mysterious appearances of red flowers gradually covering the land and its unknown pinkish swirling lights while creating destruction from the inside as well as the disturbing effects. Being able to execute an unknown and unclear dangerous force sometimes makes for something much more unsettling.
Its taken a long time to get Nicolas Cage back to full form and while there is still a level of suitable overacting in Color Out of Space as the father of the house, Nathan Gardner, he still manages to carry the movie a lot as his character slowly infected by this outer space force and making his “crazy” somehow very acceptable and adds to the films most of the time. At the same time, much more grounded in her role and adds in the oddities is Madeleine Arthur (previously in To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before) who plays Lavinia Gardner, the daughter who wants to escape this remote farmstead. Her role is done really well and has some true development as she struggles with this force and what it has done to her family. While young actor playing the youngest son Jack (Julian Hilliard previously in The Haunting of Hill House) adds in the child element which has some rather unsettling moments. The careful way of how the characters spiral as an aftereffect at different paces and different ways is also what builds the movie and gives credit to how the movie itself is executed very well.
To say that Color Out of Space is perfect would be stretching it a little though. Running at 111 minutes, it does feel, despite its suitably sensually overwhelming and fantastically psychedelic end in sound and visuals, that the film was one or two scenes (if not more) too long. There was a bit of overacting that does pull out from the story a little in parts. Despite its flaws, there is still a lot to like here. As you let the movie sink in a little more, the mysteries the story leaves behind and how director Richard Stanley frames his scenes and how the script builds up is all executed very well at creating this psychedelic terrorizing film.
Color Out of Space has one more screening at Festival du Nouveau Cinema on October 19th at 8:15pm at Cinema du Parc. You can find the info HERE.