Review: 'Color Out of Space', Nicolas Cage And Richard Stanley Bring Cosmic Horror Back To The Big Screen

Like many other genre fans, I've been anticipating Color Out of Space since it was first announced. Added bonus? It's being directed by none other than Richard Stanley. You may know that name from his early 90's cult classics Hardware('90) and Dust Devil('92) or as the director removed from what was to be his third feature The Island of Dr. Moreau due to "creative disputes". No matter where you might have first heard of him the horror genre has been awaiting his return for about 20+ years and I'm excited that his first film back is Lovecraftian in nature. As many know, adapting any literature to film is going to be risky. Adapting Lovecraft is even riskier. No matter what you do you're bound to piss a few people off. The thing about Lovecraft's work is he never directly describes the horrors from the infinite cosmic spaces, rather he describes the fear they induce and leaves the imagery up to your imagination. That in itself makes any attempt a monumental task.

Stanley paints a surreal, almost hallucinogenic landscape that builds a slow creeping dread. What begins as the portrait of a normal family eventually melts in to a mind bending acid trip. The story begins on a remote farm in the outskirts of Arkham, NE. Here we have the Gardners, a family who have recently moved in to Nathan Gardner's (Nicolas Cage) deceased father's homestead to escape the bustling city. As he, his wife Theresa (Joely Richardson) and children Lavinia (Madeleine Arthur), Benny (Brendan Meyer) and Jack (Julian Hilliard) are settling in to their new quiet life a meteor crash lands in their front yard bringing a malevolent force that seeps in to the soil. Slowly infecting everything and everyone it comes in contact with. Gradually time begins to slip as the environment takes on a psychedelic shimmering hue. Animals begin to morph and mutate under the influence of the otherworldly visitor and the family steadily descends in to madness.

For a story as short as this one, it's rather difficult extrapolate a nearly 2 hour movie but they managed to do a pretty damn good job at it. Nicolas Cage doesn't quite hit his Mandy level performance in this but he does have his times to shine and his supporting cast does what they need to do to progress the story. The visuals are fantastic and there is just enough body horror to keep a fan like me satisfied. This movie on it's own was entertaining, as an adaptation it did fairly well to satiate a Lovecraft fan like me. There are small nods to the Lovecraftian world scattered throughout, there are stunning visuals and there is some good old fashioned practical effects. While it won't please everyone or break records at the box office I think Color Out of Space will please genre fans of literature and film alike.

4 out of 5

Color Out of Space doesn't hit theaters until January 24th but here's a trailer to tide you over.