This HP Lovecraft adaptation from Richard Stanley (‘Hardware’) plays like ‘The War of the Worlds’ on ayahuasca. A meteor crashes and something alien emerges... only these minds are immeasurably more psychedelic than HG Wells’s fighty spacemen. Trees mutate, new flora sprouts and the well starts talking. Somehow it’s an hour before anyone asks: ‘What the hell is going on?’
It’s a good question, though not one you’re invited to linger over. The trip is the point here, even if Stanley takes his time building up to it as he introduces Nathan and Theresa Gardner (Nicolas Cage and Joely Richardson) and their three kids. They’ve swapped the big city for the sticks where Theresa is recovering from a mastectomy and Nathan is farming alpacas.
So far, so Country Life. Then the meteor hits and kaleidoscopic mayhem breaks out. Stanley brings real craft and control to all the gonzo grandeur, aided by a corking score from saxophonist Colin Stetson. There’s even a nod to SFX legend Rob Bottin’s creature work – a mutated cherry on top for horror fans.
Everyone else will be busy savouring vintage Cage line readings (‘Now if you don’t mind, it’s time we milk the Al. Paac. AHHHS!’) and the ultra-vivid visuals. It takes a lot for a movie to out-bonkers Cage on this kind of form. ‘Color out of Space’ manages it in style.