Based on the short story by H.P. Lovecraft, COLOR OUT OF SPACE starts out as clunky family drama and ends as a nightmarish horror acid trip. I liked it, particularly its crazy final act.
Directed and co-written by Richard Stanley–his first feature film since being fired from THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU in 1996–and counting Elijah Wood among its producers–the story centers on a family that moves out to the country, where a strange meteorite lands and begins to infect and transform the surrounding landscape and the family’s reality. Can they recognize the danger they’re in and escape in time?
The acting is solid (including a bit part for Tommy Chong), while Nicolas Cage, following up great performances in MANDY and MOM AND DAD, again shows off his capability to switch from sleepy amusement to complete manic menace. The pacing and direction are similarly solid, though the writing is a little clunky in the beginning as we’re introduced to the family and the “normal” that is about to be shattered, which made it hard for me to get behind any of the family members as the central protagonist. (There were also a few smacking-my-head moments when the characters made really bad choices.) By the second and especially the third act, though, the movie screams off the rails in a trippy rush of psychedelia and body horror.
The result is a modernization of Lovecraft while staying as true as possible to the original story, offering a load of fun for horror fans.
Stanley says COLOR OUT OF SPACE is the first in a planned trilogy of Lovecraft films. The next is intended to be based on “The Dunwich Horror.”