If “The Shining” and “Annihilation” had a baby, then it would be one Hell of an acid trip.
“Color Out of Space” is a Sci-Fi-horror film that splices the qualities of “The Shining” and “Annihilation,” because it contains some disturbing yet radiant mutations, and has a father who becomes consumed by the terrors that emerge from them. In this case, it happens to be an astroid and its trippy rainbows.
This is a film for people who admire watching bizarre and absorbing visuals, and the ones consumed by them. From one level to the next, I was fascinated and confused at the same time. This is one Hell of a strange picture, and it’s a riveting one.
We meet a family who went from the city to the country life, after they inherit an estate in Arkham, Massachusetts, and have bought alpacas to make their lives better. At least that’s what they believe.
This tribe consists the father Nathan Gardner (Nicolas Cage), his wife Theresa (Joely Richardson), their ritual-fanatic daughter Lavina (Madeleine Arthur), who wants to get out her new environment more than the others, their pothead son Benny (Brendan Meyer), and their little boy Jack (Julian Hilliard). Their lives turn upside down when a meteorite crash lands on their land.
This little piece of space rock smells like a “dog on fire,” but glows a special kind of purple. It’s also able to draw lightning, and each zap looks dazzling. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, because so many other things begin to affect their environment.
The water is poisoned, the connection is on the fritz, day becomes night in a flash, and voices can be heard in the well. The parents always have to be in denial of the activity, because that’s a horror-fantasy cliche, but eventually, the science fiction consumes them.
And the daughter begins to say: “we have to leave this place.” All I can say is: they should have done it while they had the chance.
The cast also features Elliot Knight as a visiting hydrologist, who you care about based on his persona, Q’orianka Kilcher as Arkham’s young mayor Tooma, who you don’t really care about, and Tommy Chong as a hippie squatter, who you think adds a nice touch to the movie.
The best stars in the movie would be Cage, Arthur, Meyer, Knight, and Chong, because of their characters and risks. Every once in a while, it’s refreshing to see Cage in fresh roles, instead of those recent campy debacles like “Knowing” or “Left Behind.” In fact, he’s unbelievable as the father who gives in to the Sci-Fi evils. Arthur is perfect in the ways she plays a daughter, who loves rituals and spells, and that’s why she’s given a spin on the typical movie daughter rules. Meyer delivers the goods as a pothead who shows more effort than generic potheads. At least, he tries to, given the circumstances. Knight is a revelation as the committed hydrologist, who cares about the family’s poisoned stated. And Chong has a memorable supporting role as the movie’s hippie.
“Color Out of Space” was co-written and directed by Richard Stanley, best known for making the critically-panned “The Island of Dr. Moreau.” Here, he adapts H.P. Lovecraft’s story with ambition and challenges. I was disturbed and amazed at all the mutations and the victims. You’re either going to admire it, or dislike it, based on your perspectives. I, for one, admired it.