I’ve been looking forward to this one ever since I read about it. I mean, anything with Nic Cage in it’s fair game – but throw Lovecraft into the mix and I could only imagine the magic that could bring.
Does it live up to expectation though? Well read on, weirdos.
Color Out of Space (2019)
A secluded farm is struck by a strange meteorite which has apocalyptic consequences for the family living there and possibly the world.
Harvey Gardner (Nicolas Cage) and his family live on a rural farm that once belonged to his father. He grows tomatoes and farms alpacas for their milk. His wife, Theresa (Joely Richardson) is recovering from a mastectomy and works as an Financial Advisor from home, when the internet connection allows. They have three children – teenagers Lavinia and Benny, and the youngest, Jack. They also have a hermit living in a shack on their land, the wonderful Ezra (Tommy Chong).
To say the family are under strain following their move to the countryside is an understatement but little by little they’re getting there.
Lavinia (Madeleine Arthur) is a Wiccan (yey!) who conducts rituals to try and drive her mother’s sickness away and one afternoon while out in the woods, she bumps into Ward (Elliot Knight) a hydrologist surveying the land in preparation for a hydroelectric dam being built nearby. The pair have an easy flirty chemistry which pisses off overprotective dad.
Harvey and Theresa are working on their personal issues and that night, make love for the first time following Theresa’s surgery. Unfortunately, their humping is interrupted by what appears to be a meteorite which crash lands in the back yard. The meteor floods its surroundings in an eery violet hue and emits an unearthly stench.
In the morning the Gardners attempt to get assistance from the local authorities but don’t get very far. The meteor has stopped glowing and is crumbling to dust. Ward turns up with the sheriff and the mayor, and tests the water which glows technicolor purple. He warns the family to stop drinking the water but it seems it might be a little too late to stop whatever’s going on here because the family have all started to act fucking weird. The mayor meanwhile is reluctant to do anything about anything for fear of scaring off the dam developers.
Back at the farm, each of the Gardners experience their own form of oddness. Harvey begins ranting like a madman (Cage in full swing) while Theresa slips into a trance and cuts off the tips on her fingers in a horrific scene. Jack sits by the well in the garden and talks to the man who lives down there. From the well grows interesting looking vegetation which attracts weird and wonderfully mutated insect life.
Only Lavinia and Benny seem to be keeping their heads right now, but this can’t possibly last and all hell breaks loose when Nathan drives Theresa to the hospital to have her fingers reattached. The alpacas are going mad, Ezra has a tape recording of people moving under the ground and the meteor has disappeared. What the actual fuck is going on?
While all this is horrifying, the final act takes it to the next level as whatever this entity is has plans for the family. Both Theresa and Jack find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time which has tragic and truly disgusting consequences for the family – and leaves them all with horrible choices to make.
It seems unlikely anybody is getting out of this parma violet hellscape unscathed but the question is: why is this happening and what does it mean for the rest of humanity?
Uh. I loved this but it was more subtle than I expected it to be… well, until it wasn’t. It starts off slow and steady and then BOOM. Cage is great as Nathan Gardner, a somewhat bumbling dad until he takes on his infected persona while I think Madeleine Arthur’s Lavinia is my favourite character.
The horror elements of this really borrow from John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) and is no less unsettling for it. The scenario in which Theresa and Jack find themselves is truly haunting and gag-inducing and I can’t even. Genuinely, I haven’t been able to shake it since I saw this a couple of weeks ago.
I can understand why some people wouldn’t be crazy for this. It’s strange and unusual but I love the way it looks, the way it’s performed and everything about it. It doesn’t play its hand too soon, uses a lot of suggestion before showing you anything and when you do finally start to see, it’s so fucking mad you still can’t really put it together.
I love this movie and I’m delighted by the rumour its the first in a Lovecraft trilogy by the same director.