Color Out of Space is a Cinematic Acid Trip Through a Forest of Technicolor Horrors (Review)

by | Jan 23, 2020

Color Out of Space is based on the H.P. Lovecraft story and is directed by Richard Stanley. Starring Nicolas Cage, Madeleine Arthur, Elliot Knight, Tommy Chong and Brendan Meyer the film hits theaters January 24, 2020 from RLJE Films. This is my review:

After a meteorite lands in the front yard of their farm, Nathan Gardner and his family find themselves battling a mutant extraterrestrial organism that infects their minds and bodies, transforming their quiet rural life into a technicolor nightmare.

I am not familiar with the work of H.P. Lovecraft and now I feel REALLY dumb for considering myself such a fan of sci-fi and horror because Color Out Of Space was awesome and extremely twisted in ways I never imagined until Richard Stanley somehow managed to adapt this technicolor nightmare. The film is a body horror masterpiece and I’ve never felt so uncomfortable watching the action unfold as it did here in Stanley’s epic comeback after taking WAY too long a sabbatical from kicking cinematic ass. Nicolas Cage is delivering some of his best work yet (and I feel like a broken record saying that because Mandy was next level stuff from 2018). There’s a scene in a car where Cage has his signature freak-out because it won’t start and It may very well be his greatest rage Cage moment yet, but it totally works in the scenario it’s presented in. Color out Of Space is profoundly fucked up sci-fi horror and the slow-buildup to the chaos only makes the madness that is inevitable that much harder to grasp after we’ve begun to like this family who just want to milk their Alpacas in the woods peacefully.

I honestly don’t know how many liberties, if any, Stanley took from H.P. Lovecraft’s source material, but if it’s anything close to what made it into the movie – then I need to start reading some frikken H.P. Lovecraft. After a meteorite crashes on the Gardner family farm, it begins to transform the landscape into this pink and purple horrorshow which also affects the animals and eventually… the people in ways that I won’t spoil here, but it’s not what you would expect and the results are on par with iconic horror movies like The Thing. I found Color out of Space to be even more unnerving than that iconic film in several ways. The alien entity that is screwing with the family and forest here is both beautiful (those damn colors are glorious to look at) and absolutely disgusting at the same time. If you thought the dog scene in The Thing was bad, you aren’t prepared for Alpaca-thulu…

The special effects are perfect. I could tell they were low budget in some sequences, but the overall results are just as great as major motion sci-fi romps like the similar Annihilation and that’s what I want to see in all of my science fiction going forward. Color Out of Space is another one of those game-changers that forces its genre to adapt and attempt more brave and unusual things that people haven’t seen yet. I wish I could talk about what happens halfway through when the literal ‘color out of space’ strikes a living being and what… that does exactly, but I’ll leave that surprise for you to find out. Be prepared to be both physically and likely emotionally nauseated by some of the most traumatizing things you’ll see all year. The performances are all brilliant, especially from Cage, who plays a broken man trying to make his own way (BY MILKING ALPACAS!) but what really makes Color out Of Space shine, is Stanley’s excellent direction and bold vision to adapt something so dark and strange but still managing to ground the work in enough reality that you never feel lost or overwhelmed by the insane visuals you’ll be experiencing.

Color Out of Space is a cinematic acid trip through a forest of horrors and it’s a journey that I’ll remember for a long time. I don’t know if I’ll be able to watch it again because of how screwed up some of the moments were, but I’ll never forget them either.

Rating: 4/5