Color Out of Space [TIFF19 Review]

While in line for this film, someone approached me and asked about the film. About why I decided to buy a ticket for this film that has no trailer and knows very little about it. Outside of the fact that it’s something exciting and fun to do as many films for a festival as possible, but to me it boiled down to three things, H.P. Lovecraft, Nicolas Cage, and that single still. It is gorgeous and otherworldly and exciting enough to want me to be brought into this other world.

Richard Stanley is a filmmaker who made insane waves in 1990 with his debut film Hardware. Which also played Midnight Madness. He made a film two years later and then began his feature film draught. He was written scripts, shot short films and documentaries but hasn’t made a film. He almost directed the 1996 version of The Island of Dr. Moreau but was replaced a week into filming.

So to announce that not only Stanley was releasing a new film, but would be a film starring everyone’s favourite Nicolas Cage, and an adaptation of one of Lovecraft’s personal favourite short stories? It’s safe to say that the Midnight Madness was extremely excited. Which hindered the film, as everyone cheered almost every time he did anything in the movie.

Color Out of Space takes place in Arkham, Massachusetts and follows the Gardner family who lives on a farm. One day, an entity and asteroid fall from space and thus, slowly begins to possess and affect time and the genetics of the area. While both the colour they use (pink/purple hues) and the effects are very reminiscent of Annihilation but more contained. What is contained in a sometimes very moving story about a family trying to deal with a virus that manifests and molds itself to fit the suitor, and we all adapt to it. What sometimes feels like a metaphor for cancer, and sometimes feels like just a very fun scare, for me the film worked wonders.

The cast is great – Nicolas Cage acts both endearing and his more modern-day Cage Rage moments sprinkled throughout and more so as the film continues. Joely Richardson as the mother is sweet and loving, but also able to intimidate. Julian Hillard plays the youngest, and is very adorable at being the little boy who’s afraid but also wants to make friends. I’m curious if Julian is going to stick in the horror world since he made waves last year with Haunting of Hill House and will also be in the upcoming Penny Dreadful series. Brendan Meyer who Canadians might know well from his television show Mr. Young, as well as previously been part of Midnight Madness alum – The Guest is remarkable in the film. Equal parts stoner and charmer.

But it’s Madeliene Arthur’s film (from the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy), she opens the film with a spell that may or may not have caused the entire incident. She fights for the family and seems to be the only one aware of what happens or what is going on but no one seems to listen to her plea’s, so they all slowly suffer, together as a family.

It’s the beauty and spectacle of this otherworldly hue that brought me into the film, and while scary, made me want to extend my visit in its realm. A wicked blast of a film from Midnight Madness, and a great way to start my festival this year.