Parents' Guide to

Color Out of Space

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Excellent, unsettling sci-fi horror based on Lovecraft tale.

Movie NR 2020 111 minutes
Color Out of Space Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 18+

Really Gross and Disgusting

Really convincing makeup (GROSS) and effects. Sounds are pretty gross, too. Tell ya' the truth: I haven't finished watching till the end, it's that disgusting and I appreciate good sci-fi/horror. Some may consider this to be good sci-fi/horror. Maybe I'm just getting squeamish in my old age. I'm wondering what all involved were thinking when they made this movie. One thing's for sure: Nick Cage is OVER-THE-TOP, nuclear Nick Cage. LOTS of cursing, too. Crazy movie...Those that enjoy barfing will be encouraged by this film. By the way, having been an avid sci-fi/horror reader as a kid, HP Lovecraft always stood out and movies made of his stories are typically gross and disgusting-leaning as a "body of work". This director is reported to have plans to make at least two more Lovecraft story movies...My barf bag will be within arm's reach...
age 16+

Majestic magenta visuals, but poorly executed adaptation

This is a decent adaptation of the Lovecraftian horror short story. Unfortunately the film is all over the place in mood, at times being terrifying, and at other times comically absurd, thanks in part to Cage's trademark eccentric performance. At many points in the film, the characters behave excruciatingly irrational, even before the effects of "The Color" take shape. I found myself praying for the quick and swift demise of the characters... Not out of spite, but rather mercy for themselves. It felt like watching someone navigate a room full of upward-facing thumbtacks while blindfolded, except also oblivious to both the blindfold and whatever obvious mysterious danger lies around them... In general, the film just feels confused about itself... Or maybe for whatever reason it just didn't click with me. It does have very majestic visuals and the special effects is very well done! The use of magenta is a suitably outlandish choice and one that hasn't been done much from my memory as a way to convey an alien threat.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4 ):
Kids say (4 ):

A clever, potent adaptation of a story by H.P. Lovecraft, this sci-fi shocker with a little humor and effective visual FX manages to capture the source material's unique, unnamable enigma. Writer-director Richard Stanley (of the 1990 cult classic Hardware) and co-writer Scarlett Amaris bring Lovecraft's 1927 story into the present day -- and also discard the story's flashback structure -- but keep the original tale's moods and ideas intact. The evil is never explained or seen in Color Out of Space, except in the form of ethereal patterns of poisonous, seeping colors and in the shocking mutations of living things. It's constantly intriguing -- and definitely unsettling.

Cage's performance isn't quite as consistent here as it was in the terrific 2018 horror film Mandy -- when he gets unhinged here, it's inadvertently funny -- but things balance out before the final act. Cage also provides some intentional humor (as when he watches himself being interviewed on TV about possible aliens), and Tommy Chong is terrific as a freaky old hermit. Q'orianka Kilcher co-stars as the mayor of the Gardners' town; it seems as if there might once have been more to her character, as her appearances in the finished film don't amount to much. But otherwise, the characters in Color Out of Space are vivid and dimensional, and their warm humanity lies in direct contrast to the horrors in the woods.

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