COLOR OUT OF SPACE – Review by Susan Granger
Inspired by a 1927 H.P. Lovecraft short story, this sci-fi terror tale revolves around former city dwellers – Nathan (Nicolas Cage) and Theresa (Joely Richardson) Gardner – who have moved to the country with their three children: Lavinia (Madeline Arthur), Benny (Brendan Meyer) and Jack (Jullian Hilliard).
Having renovated Nathan’s father’s old farmhouse in (fictional) Arkham, Massachusetts, they’re now raising a herd of alpacas (“the animal of the future”) and indulging volatile Lavinia as she consults a paperback copy of “The Necronomicon” to practice a riverside Wiccan pagan ritual, hoping to hasten her mother’s recovery from a recent mastectomy.
One day, Ward Phillips (Elliott Knight) appears; he serves as the narrator, a hydrologist sent to test local water levels for a future dam project. Ward is attracted to teenage Lavinia, while adolescent, oft-stoned Benny confers with their hermetic, tech-savvy neighbor Ezra (Tommy Chong).
That night, there’s an ominous crash as a mysteriously glowing purple/pink meteor fragment lands in their front yard, releasing a magenta-colored extraterrestrial organism that not only infects their family but turns the countryside into a horrifying, shape-shifting, cotton candy-colored nightmare.
As Ward says, “What touched this place cannot be quantified or understood by human science. It was just a color out of space – a messenger from realms whose existence stuns the brain and numbs us with the gulfs that it throws before our frenzied eyes.”
FYI: Ward Phillips’ name stems from that of author (Ho)ward Phillips Lovecraft.
South African-born director Richard Stanley (The Island of Dr. Moreau, Hardware) co-wrote the adapted screenplay with Scarlett Amaris (Replace, The Theatre Bizarre), which indulges in far too much weirdly incoherent, B-movie violence and gore, punctuated by Colin Stetson’s synth-based score.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, Color Out of Space is a sinister 6, available on Apple TV, Vudu and Fandango Now.
EDITOR’S NOTE: You may also be interested in reading Liz Whittemore’s review of Color Out of Space