Color Out of Space (2019)

color out of space poster 2019 movie
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Interesting visuals

Story, characters needed to develop more

Movie Info

Movie Name: Color Out of Space

Studio: SpectreVision

Genre(s): Horror

Release Date(s):  September 7, 2019 (Toronto International Film Festival)/January 24, 2020 (US)

MPAA Rating: Unrated

color out of space nicolas cage lovecraft meteor

“I can’t describe the color..”.
“I can, Dad…it’s pink”

In an isolated New England farm in Arkham, the Gardner family is trying to rebuild after Theresa Gardner (Joely Richardson) completes her cancer treatment.  When a strange meteor crashes at the night that is of such of an indescribable color, strange things begin happening on the farm. Nathan (Nicolas Cage) begins acting strange, Benny (Brendan Meyer) begins losing time, Lavinia (Madeleine Arthur) suffers illness, and Jack (Julian Hilliard) becomes fascinated by the well.  A man studying the water table for a future reservoir named Ward Philips (Elliot Knight) suspects something is wrong on the Gardner farm, and the horror is beginning.

Directed by Richard Stanley, Color Out of Space is a psychological extraterrestrial horror film.  The movie adapts the 1927 H.P. Lovecraft story “The Colour Out of Space” which was originally published in Amazing Stories (September 1927).  The movie premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and had a limited theatrical run.

color out of space joely richardson merges with son

I long to be close to you…

I always liked the story “The Colour Out of Space” and found there was something primal and scary about.  Like a zombie movie, it is about infection, and the characters cannot escape the infection because it is in their water.  I liked Cage’s turn in Mandy and when I saw Richard Stanley was coming back to do Color Out of Space, I wanted to see it.

While overall, the movie is interesting, it misses a few opportunities.  Unlike a lot of Lovecraft stories, the film gets a lot of the weird mysticism-supernatural-extraterrestrial tone right.  My issue is that the story felt like it took longer.  The characters just started acting off, things started going wrong, and eventually everything descends into madness.  Here, the movie goes zero to Nic Cage in about one day.  I would have liked the idea of a slower, more paced horror creeping on the characters.

color out of space cat monster

Meow, Meow!

As mentioned, Nicolas Cage is at his Nic Cagest.  He rages, rants, and acts crazy…then he’ll be completely normal.  It definitely is an acquired taste and doesn’t always work.  It worked great in Mandy and almost works here, but needed to be slower (think Romero’s The Crazies which story has a similar feel at points).  You get Joely Richardson as the crazed mother who really, really likes being close to her children, and Madeleine Arthur as the daughter who is trying to get away from everything.  I kind of feel that Brendan Meyer’s Benny needed a little more direction especially since Tommy Chong took the stone “out there” role (which feels a bit unnecessary since the movie is about the core family).  Elliot Knight serves as essentially the narrator who is the outsider sucked into the craziness of the event.

color out of space evil mom monster

You thought your mom was a nag

The movie is visually compelling, but it often doesn’t let you see the horror as clear as you need to (like the Theresa and Jack monster or the alpacas).  This does give the movie a bit of a “what isn’t seen is scarier” feel, but they show enough of the horror that it feels like they needed to either show nothing or everything involving the gore.  It is also hard to make an indescribable color as written by Lovecraft as “luminous amorphousness, that alien and undimensioned rainbow of cryptic poison from the well—seething, feeling, lapping, reaching, scintillating, straining, and malignly bubbling in its cosmic and unrecognizable chromaticism”…here, essentially it is pink.

Color Out of Space is worth seeking out for a different type of horror.  With the recent water crisis in places like Flint, Michigan, I felt modernizing the story could have played a bit more on the horror that we might all be facing in coming years as we continue to pollute the groundwater, but Stanley pretty much plays the horror as Lovecraft intended.  Stanley does leaving wanting more Lovecraft and has plans to round out Color Out of Space as part of a Lovecraft trilogy.

Related Links:

Die, Monster, Die! (1965)

The Curse (1987)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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