Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA/Malaysia/Portugal, 2019. SpectreVision, ACE Pictures Entertainment, BRO Cinema, XYZ Films. Screenplay by Richard Stanley, Scarlett Amaris, based on the short story by H.P. Lovecraft. Cinematography by Steve Annis. Produced by Daniel Noah, Josh C. Waller, Lisa Whalen, Elijah Wood. Music by Colin Stetson. Production Design by Katie Byron. Costume Design by Patrícia Dória. Film Editing by Brett W. Bachman. Toronto International Film Festival 2019.
H.P. Lovecraft is adapted with surprising ease to the modern age in this disturbing if lackluster horror film. Nicolas Cage and Joely Richardson are living a lush, idyllic life on their isolated farm with their three children when one night, out of nowhere, they receive the visit of a glowing pink meteorite-like object falling on their land out of the sky. It begins to transform the flora and fauna around it, gorgeous, tall plants begin to bloom everywhere but the animals begin to go mad, their youngest son is thrown into a disturbed catatonic state and Richardson begins to be emotionally affected by the presence of this alien thing. The couple’s two older children realize they need to get out of this place in order to save lives, but can they outwit a force with such power to overtake the very land they walk on? There’s a creative artificiality to the visual effects that only makes them more beautiful, while the gory creature effects that represent the very stomach-turning metamorphoses of people and animals are effectively achieved, but such a free-for-all gorefest should have a lot more humour than we get here. Free of tension and low on personality, it’s a well executed but not particularly memorable investigation of the writer’s disturbing imagination, with Cage doing a pale imitation of Nicholson in The Shining and coming nowhere near the delirious folly of his more outrageous roles.