Nicolas Cage headlines the new film from Richard Stanley – and here’s our review.
Nicolas Cage milking alpacas in a film based on an H.P. Lovecraft story? That’s the pitch, and realistically that’s also all you need to know about Richard Stanley’s magnificent Color Out Of Space. This may just be the most bonkers film we get to experience this year, a film that manages to be so full of colour and life, while also hiding some horrific beasts. Cage stars as Nathan, the head of the Gardner family who have recently moved to rural farm after mother Theresa’s (Joely Richardson) mastectomy. After a meteorite strikes, landing right on the Gardners’ front lawn, the family must fight the strange Color spreading from the crash site before it consumes everything.
Color Out Of Space is Richard Stanley’s deliriously fun return to narrative fiction filmmaking, over two decades since his last film. It’s weird, frenzied, terrifying and all together lovely, something truly special. He goes where few other filmmakers would have the bravery to go, fully committing to Lovecraft’s crazy narrative as well as visuals and ultimately finding the heart of the story – the family unit.
The bold use of colours and neat effects make the film quite a treat for any Lovecraft fan, but even viewers unacquainted with the author should find the film entertaining. It’s full of grisly spectacle, from mangled bodies to good old-fashioned gore. There’s a strange other-worldly, magical quality to the images Stanley and director of photography Steve Annis bring to the screen. The creature designs are inventive, but something stops them from becoming truly memorable. Perhaps less would have been more in this case.
Nicolas Cage seems to have found his new style with these extremely strange horror films. He was hugely impressive in Panos Cosmatos’s Mandy, and at times Color Out Of Space feels like a spiritual sibling to that film, at least in terms of Cage’s unwavering commitment and character work. But the real heart and soul of the film is Madeleine Arthur, who plays the daughter of the family. Arthur brings plenty of angst to her role as the rebellious teenager, but the performance is grounded in love, and ultimately sadness. It always feels like a privilege to watch such talent at such a young age. Color Out Of Space might be her ticket to screen queen fame and perhaps something much more. This film, for one, is an absolute treat.
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