Richard Stanely’s adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s Color Out of Space centers on a family living on a remote farm surrounded by ancient hardwoods. Their troubles begin when they are awakened by a strange noise and incredible lights of amethyst hues that fill the night sky, then the crash of a meteorite in their yard. The event makes the local news the next day but after a severe lightning storm, it is not long before an unseen alien menace begins to spread slowly in the form of flowers at first, then the farm’s animals begin to mutate and people’s minds are altered.
Stanley’s adaptation approaches Lovecraft’s tale from a different angle than the original story. Instead of seeing the story unfold from the point of view of an outside investigator, we see witness the chaos first hand from the family’s perspective. It was a gamble to alter one of Lovecraft’s most famous stories, but it works out beautifully.
The film itself is incredibly beautiful, filled with rich color, which Stanley explained to me during our interview. However, there are incredibly grotesque scenes that will affect any animal lover. Still, Stanely somehow is able to balance the two extremes fantastically.
Nicolas Cage leads the cast of Color Out of Space in the role of Nathan Gardner, a father, and a husband that we are meant to find sympathy for. Joely Richardson plays the part of the over-attentive mother, still coping with being a cancer survivor. Julian Hilliard and Brendon Meyer’s roles are of Nathan’s sons. Elliot Knight is a scientist investigating the area’s water supply who becomes entangled in the story. Tommy Chong makes an appearance as a hippy squatter on the family’s land. But the real star of the movie is Madeleine Arthur, Nathan’s teenage daughter Lavinia, who has sought solace in the Wiccan religion. She provides a fantastic performance beyond her years that brings the entire film together.
I often get disappointed when I get really excited about seeing a movie. Luckily, that’s not the case this time. Color Out of Space surpassed my expectations and that’s rare these days. I was mesmerized by its beauty while I flinched at the scenes I was meant to.
My only complaint is that Cage overacted in a few scenes, but hey, you come to expect that when you learn Cage is involved. But not even that could sour me on this film.
Color Out of Space is a brilliant, gorgeous, creepy film that I believe H.P. Lovecraft himself would approve of. I was happy to hear that it is the first in a Lovecraft trilogy from Stanley (read more about that here). I want to see more of what he can do with Lovecraft’s iconic tales.
I have come to the decision that I can give Color Out of Space no less than a score a 5 out of 5. I urge you to see it. It opens in theater on January 24th.