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You could say that Richard Stanley’s new movie Color out of Space is a mashup of relatively recent horror films like The Thing, The Witch, and Annihilation, but really you just need to look at the film’s source material and those films’ progenitor: the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Based on Lovecraft’s short story “The Colour out of Space”, Stanley’s movie offers its audience no quarter as a family is slowly torn asunder in body and soul by an otherworldly force. For fans of Lovecraft, there’s plenty to like in Stanley’s contemporary adaptation, but when there’s no trace of hope for the characters, the audience likewise becomes trapped. Halfway through the film, you know all these people are doomed, and so you just bide your time and hope that the psychedelic visuals and another crazy Nicolas Cage performance are enough to carry the day. Sadly, they’re not.
Set in the present day (Lovecraft’s story was published in 1927), we follow the Gardner family—father Nathan (Cage), mother Theresa (Joely Richardson), daughter Lavinia (Madeleine Arthur), and sons Benny (Brendan Meyer) and Jack (Julian Hiliard)—live a relatively quiet life on a small farm near the fictional New England city of Arkham. One night, a meteorite of a strange color crashes down in their front yard. Despite warning from the local hydrologist Ward Phillips (Elliot Knight), no one seems to acknowledge how this foreign body has contaminated the water table and also seems to be wrecking havoc on all electronic devices. As the foreign body starts transforming the flora and fauna outside the Gardners’ home, the family starts going insane as the unidentified terror rips apart their bodies and minds.
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By the time the first act of the film was over, I asked myself why I was even watching this, not because the movie was awful, but...
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