Color Out of Space – The Film I Wish I Could Explain: A Review

Author: Marisa Reyes-Pacheco

I had no idea what Color Out of Space (2019) would be when I sat down in the theater. Two days later, I still have no idea what I really saw. Directed by Richard Stanley, the film focuses on a family whose farm is struck by a random meteorite that has a slow, gruelling and gruesome impact on anything and anyone within its reach.

At the beginning, I was pleasantly surprised at how many beautiful shots were put together of the scenery, but this only stayed consistent for the title sequence. But within the first thirty minutes of this film, I knew it was destined to be awful. The man we all know and love, Nicolas Cage, plays father and farmer Nathan Gardner. A man who is seemingly tired of his day-to-day routine and of disrespect at the hands of his family, his character didn’t feel like a protagonist to me. Sure, the film must’ve needed a big Hollywood name to get behind it in order to be successful (if we want to call it that), but I think that it may have made the film worse. In popular culture, Nicolas Cage is pretty much known as a walking and talking meme, and this film emphasized that with the terrible, cheesy dialogue it gave not only to Cage, but to all of its cast. This is not a film that is meant to be taken seriously.

Things start getting weird when a random meteorite hits the Gardner’s family farm. The water supply of the town becomes contaminated and undrinkable, yet nobody in this town seems to care? They are literally warned multiple times that this water should not be ingested yet they drink, bathe and continue doing everything they were doing before the soon-to-be catastrophe. As the film progresses, a lot of irrelevant things happen not important at all to the story. Basically, the family fights and all kind of hate each other. They all address weird things are happening, except for good ole’ Nic Cage, but take no action to actually leave until it is way too late. I wish I could explain in words just how much this film does not make sense, but the only way I can describe it as is a group of people taking as many and as much psychedelics as they can in one sitting, having the worst trip of their lives, and then deciding to make a movie out of it.

The best parts of the film came from the editing and horror elements. The visuals were vivid, excessive and kind of hard to watch, but were what was necessary to show the audience just how strange the occurrences happening were. Color was a huge element of this film and I’m glad they were so experimental with it. This film did make me cringe, in a sense of fear and pain, at some of the horror scenes, which I wasn’t expecting. The creatures they created in this universe were so unlike anything I had ever seen, possibly comparable to some ancient Greek monsters, but in the most vile way possible. I did wish this film had a trigger warning for self harm, because there is a lot of it.

Color Out of Space is a terrible film and should have been more carefully articulated in the smaller details to maybe be more easily understandable in the grand scheme of things. The best, most developed character was Lavinia Gardner (Madeleine Arthur) but even her dialogue was so bad that I couldn’t take anything she said seriously. Many of the dramatic and suspenseful scenes did not read well to the audience, as there was constant laughter and clapping at the family’s gruesome demise. But hey, what do I know? This could be someone’s new film favorite of 2020. It is definitely something not able to be easily articulated into words, you definitely have to see it for yourself.

Marisa Reyes-Pacheco | playing Link’s Awakening, don’t text | KXSU Arts Reporter

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