Colour Out of Space

Daniel O'Sullivan | 10/05/2020

Nicolas Cage stars in this psychedelic adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s short story that overcomes some pacing issues to ultimately burrow itself deep under the audience’s skin.

After relocating his family to an isolated farming estate, Nathan Gardner and his family are shocked when a technicolour meteorite crashes onto their property. After the meteorite disappears suddenly, the Gardner family soon find themselves battling both an extra-terrestrial presence as well as their own sanity.

Though one could easily disregard it another strange entry into his filmography upon first glance, Nicolas Cage provides a delightfully balanced performance as the lead of this film. Without stepping into spoiler territory, Cage is able to play both a reserved and concerned father, whilst also dialling up the wackiness when the script and the story call for it with masterful control. Another standout of the films solid casting is Madeleine Arthur, who portrays the teenage dark magic enthusiast struggling to make sense of the chaos around her.

Taking an artful approach to the direction, Richard Stanley is somehow able to breathe life into Lovecraft’s pages in a way that is visually stunning, but also just surreal and abstract enough to make the audience question just what on Earth is going on, much like the characters. Filmed primarily on the one location, Stanley’s approach to the visuals makes the dreary farmhouse feel like multiple sets as the films environment slowly progresses and evolves around the characters.

Unfortunately, the pacing does let the film down slightly. With an intended slow-burn approach it can be hard to ensure the audience is fully engaged for the duration and avoid checking their watches. Colour Out of Space does unfortunately fall victim to these effects to some degree and dampens what is a truly mesmerising and haunting film, though it runs the risk of alienating a mainstream audience.

Conclusion

Though its slow-burn pacing and abstract approach may not appeal to mainstream audiences, Colour Out of Space is a well crafted and somewhat disturbing adaption of its equally shocking source material.