Color Out of Space (2019) Review
For those of you who have had to wait an entire 72 hours between Nicolas Cage movies, you will wait no longer. For the trippy look-at-the-colors horror movie Color Out of Space is merely the 4th out of 17 movies Nicolas Cage spanning the 12-month period between January of 2019 and January of 2020.
I know. Nic Cage must be taking a long needed break if he’s in so few films in a calendar year. I personally wrote a scintillating script about a man who gets up in morning, has breakfast, and then spends the entire day watching Netflix. It’s 120 pages of screenplay cut down from 180. I’m hoping Nic Cage reads it and agrees to play the lead.
UPDATED- Nic Cage has just read it and has agreed to play the lead. It’s tentatively titled Man Eats Breakfast and Watches Netflix.
Color Out of Space finally marks the return of the once-promising director Richard Stanley (Dust Devil, Hardware). As you might know, his career was derailed because of portly Marlon Brando and jackass Val Kilmer in the 1996 debacle The Island of Doctor Moreau and his fall is chronicled in the excellent documentary Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Doctor Moreau. If you haven’t seen this movie it’s a much better one than Color Out of Space and I will give you two hours to watch it right now.
In those two hours Nic Cage will have time to make another movie.
- Cut to -
Title Card Reads- “Two Hours Later.”
Wasn’t that a great movie? You’re primed to read this review of Richard Stanley’s return from a 23-year absence of filmmaking. Richard Stanley has made three movies since 1992.
Nic Cage makes three movies in the time it takes me to write “Nic Cage makes three movies.”
Color Out of Space is also based on the short story by horror master and super racist H. P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft liked Hitler and hated black people, but at least he’s dead now. The short story was originally titled The Colour Out Of Space, but there wasn’t enough money in the budget to afford a “The” and an extraneous ‘U’ in Colour.
Synopsis Out Of Space
Color Out of Space opens in the city of Arkham with a young woman named Lavinia Gardener (Madeleine Arthur) doing what seems to be a ritual. She’s asking her deities of choice to extricate the cancer from her mother’s body. She’s interrupted by a local hydrologist named Ward (Elliot Knight) who has been assigned to test Arkham’s water supply.
Lavinia and Ward seem to hit it off but Lavinia has to go back to her family’s farm.
We go back to the Gardener farm and meet the rest of Lavinia’s family.
As you might remember, her mother Theresa (Joely Richardson) has cancer and is a stockbroker of some sort. Her father Nathan (Nicolas Cage) acts spastic and yells a lot. Pretty much what you’d expect from the Nicolas Cage character.
Her brother Benny (Brendan Meyer) smokes weed.
Her youngest brother Jack (Julian Hilliard) wears glasses and has an iguana in his pants.
The Gardener family also has a pack of alpacas that they will raise for sweaters and meat when the time comes. Color Out of Space holds the current record for the amount of times “alpaca” is said in a major motion picture.
They also have a stoned squatter named Ezra (Tommy Chong, of course) who is the kind of person you’d expect to be stoned and squatting on your farm. You’re surprised he doesn’t have a podcast centered on government conspiracies.
The Gardeners are living the idyllic farm life until later that night when a meteorite crashes into their front yard. Not just any meteorite, but one bathed in lavender and pink light. Having a meteorite crash into your front yard can be a little off putting, but the local government, including Arkham’s ambitious mayor (Q’ Orianka Kilcher) sees nothing wrong with it. Maybe it’ll boost Arkham tourism.
Either way, it’ll all blow over and the Gardeners have nothing to worry about.
Except little Jack notices and bright purple light emanating from the spot the meteor came from. You don’t normally see that type of behavior from an everyday meteor. Or do you?
The Gardener’s dog and cat are acting funny. Come to think of it, so are the alpacas.
Fun Fact- This review of Color Out of Space (2019) contains more uses of the word ‘Alpaca’ than any review in history except Leonard Maltin’s review of Shoah.
The Gardeners think if they ignore the meteorite and the colors (out of space) that come from it, it will go away. That reasoning might work for most rashes on your body, but it won’t work for this particular psychedelic meteorite. Aside from having cancer, Theresa will now have bandages on her hand from the ER because she just cut her fingers off prepping vegetables for dinner.
I like my vegetables without fingers.
The subsequent nights will get a lot worse from there. Because Ward has noticed something really wrong with the water. And there are other things besides color (out of space) coming from that meteorite.
What Works With Color Out of Space
- Those of you with a fetish for the color purple (the actual color, not the Whoopi Goldberg movie) will have a high fun time looking at all the pretty bright lights. You’ll wonder if Tommy Chong slipped you something while you were watching the movie. It could happen because Tommy Chong has been known to enter random homes while people watch this movie. Lock your doors if you don’t want this to happen.
- Nicolas Cage freak out number 1- Those of you with a tomato fetish will be very upset. Not Nic Cage upset, but pretty perturbed.
- Ostensibly labeled a horror movie, there aren’t many parts in Color that are actually scary, but there are more than a couple of moments that are genuinely unsettling. Those moments are what make Color worth a watch. You’ll never look at _____ the same way again.
What Doesn’t Work With Color Out of Space
- Color runs a shade under two hours. As the credits roll you realize the movie would have been just as or even more effective with 20 minutes shaved off. Richard Stanley trades off style for suspense in those 20 minutes and the movie is worse off for it. It’s a noticeable but not fatal flaw.
Color Out of Space is the best Nicolas Cage movie this week. Come for the trippy colors. Stay for the things after the colors.