Reed Alexander's Horror Review of 'The Color Out of Space' (2010)
Not to be confused with 'Color out of Space,' 'Colour from the Dark,' 'The Curse,' and especially 'Colours from Outer Space.'
AKA 'The title soon to be added to horror movies ruined by Nicolas Cage' The Color Out Of Space (2019/2020).
This story by H. P. Lovecraft has had dozens of cinematic adaptations, all of which did things right and things wrong. Colour From The Dark (2008) was the first movie I ever reviewed, and is the reason my blog went from politics to horror reviews. The review took up maybe six lines, but got triple the hits of any of my long winded political opinions, and the rest is history.
I've always had a deep love for The Colour Out of Space by H. P. Lovecraft, because of how fascinating the mythos is. Even though I found the second hand narrative to be frustrating, the details of the encounter just drew me in. I'll get to more of that in the spoilers.
This review, however, is not about how well the movies hold up to the book. I could frankly give two shits how close to the book an adaptation is, as long as it's entertaining. My reviews are about the movies and if they can stand on their own. Fanboys can, so to speak, fucking hang.
This movie, like many of the new adaptations of Lovecraft's work, was shot in black and white. Not just to give it the artistic feel of film noir, but also to express something that Lovecraft was always shit at: trying to describe something that cannot be described. What me and my friends like to call, 'Lovecraft lazy.' It used color only for the 'Color' to show that the natural world was dull and plain, but the 'Color' itself was vibrant and splendorous.
But let's not beat around the bush, the black and white was also used to cover the shit practical FX and CGI. And it didn't work. This was a shoe stringer, and they really should have just known better. I'd frankly have appreciated it more if they used old 1920 practical FX. At least, that would have matched the film noir feel.
However, it's worse than that. The reason why most modern adaptations of The Colour Out Of Space aren't done in a second hand narrative, is because it translates so fucking poorly. It's just frankly boring. I don't give a fuck about what people think happened to the Gartener family, I want to fucking watch it happen.
Outside of the plot being spread too thin, the acting was okay, but the voice overs for the English parts (this being a German film) were dreadful, and a little too campy.
I can't give it a pass, I'd recommend Colour from the Dark instead, it's just a more interesting movie.
What really ruined this for me, was the lack of the other worldly entity that was depicted in the book. As I mentioned before, what every other film did right was present the decay of the Gartener family in gruesome fashion.
The 'Color' lands on the Gartener family property, and all of the sudden, things begin to take splendorous and bountiful life. Fruits and vegetables grow to enormous size, animals seem to be drawn in, and the grass and trees almost seem to have a magic to them. This all has this strange sinister undertone where everything is just off, but in a seemingly harmless way. The food tastes funny, the trees seem to move at night, and the youngest family member begins hearing a whisper from the well.
This all precedes the creeping rot that slowly starts to take the Garteners, and their land. It's fascinating to imagine an entity that creates life only to intentionally spoil it, and take hold of the minds of humans to help spread its rot.
This was almost completely absent from this movie, barely taking up tentotal minutes of the film, and because of that, it just got boring. There were scenes we didn't need, detail that did nothing to further the plot, characters who only wasted our time, and just padding after padding in the name of staying true to the story. All this, and it completely misses the fucking point; a truly terrifying alien intelligence spreading rot through the German hillsides.
In short, don't waste your time.