Have you ever seen a movie that you would ultimately describe as a beautiful mess? That is pretty much Richard Stanley’s new feature titled Colour Out of Space. Based on H. P. Lovecraft’s well-known short story with the same name, it’s another film produced by SpectreVision, which is recognized for making some unsettling genre flicks that really make you feel like you’re experiencing a psychedelic trip. With some creative, ambitious and talented people involved with handling such an intriguing premise, this should be a great movie! Sadly, that’s not the case… This is yet again another interesting concept that is sloppily executed.
Colour Out of Space focuses on the Gardner family who lives on a farm near the fictional town of Arkham, Massachusetts. It stars Nicolas Cage as Nathan Gardner, and we also get introduced to other members of his family like his wife Theresa (Joely Richardson), his daughter Lavinia (Madeleine Arthur), and his two sons Benny (Brendan Meyer) and Jack (Julian Hiliard). One night, a meteorite suddenly crashes on their yard, and it will forever change their lives. As the film goes on, this event starts to drastically change the Gardners’ behavior and it even reduces the town’s water supply.
Visually, it looks absolutely beautiful. You can definitely tell just by looking at it that SpectreVision is involved in making the movie, especially when you’re invested in the psychedelic visuals that the company is known for. If you love genre features that feel like acid trips, this will undeniably please you in that way. The beginning actually does a good job setting up both the story and the characters, and you’re excited to see what happens next.
Unfortunately, the rest of the film falls apart and it just becomes a sloppy mess… For the most part, the acting is really bad, which is unfortunate to say because you can see the cast really trying their best with the script that they’re given. Once again, Nicolas Cage brings another unintentionally hilarious performance that you might have seen from him in some of his other terrible and/or campy flicks like The Wicker Man and Ghost Rider.
Tonally, it’s all over the place, and it stays inconsistent throughout. The dramatic tone that the filmmakers set up in the first fifteen minutes is completely destroyed, which then causes the movie to become unintentionally hysterical in some scenes as people start making lots of stupid decisions. Richard Stanley’s script has a lot of other issues such as lack of character development, poorly written dialogue and sluggish pacing. The runtime is only under two hours long, but somehow it feels like it’s three hours long with nothing interesting happening on screen. Also, get ready to laugh out loud whenever they mention alpacas. Don’t ask why.
Colour Out of Space is another film with such wasted potential. While it does have stunning visuals and a solid beginning, it’s not even worth watching just for those two aspects of the movie. Maybe H. P. Lovecraft’s stories are difficult to adapt on the big screen, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s still not well executed. For a SpectreVision production, it’s a shame that it’s not as good as it could have been.