I liked this one, but I wanted to love it. Based on H. P. Lovecraft’s story, a meteorite crash-lands outside an isolated New England farmhouse, dooming the family within to manipulation by extraterrestrial forces. Nicolas Cage plays the exasperated patriarch.
I loved the atmosphere. The opening wide shots convey a clear storytelling vision with director Richard Stanley establishing the environment as a central character. This proves the film’s highlight as the natural green and gray forest transforms to an unnatural psychedelic purple.
The cast shines too. I bought everyone in their roles, though Cage’s performance feels too heightened at the start.
Which brings me to my lone gripe. I sense there’s a great movie here. Perhaps a longer cut affording Cage more runway to transform from mild Dad to deranged victim. Or a shorter cut fueled by nightmare logic. As-is, the film feels disjointed. For example, Cage’s relationship with his father emerges in two isolated scenes as though it were a central theme. Meanwhile, the ever-present alpacas mean… something? It’s as though Stanley couldn’t decide if he wanted to present a dramatic horror or psychedelic nightmare. He delivers impressive aspects of both, but in committing to neither, shortchanges his film.