COLOR OUT OF SPACE (2019) Reviews and overview



Color Out of Space is a 2019 American science fiction horror feature film written and directed by Richard Stanley (The Theatre BizarreThe Island of Doctor Moreau (1996, screenplay) Dust Devil; Hardware), based on the short story of the same name by H.P. Lovecraft. The SpectreVision (Mandy) production stars Nicolas Cage, Joely Richardson, Tommy Chong and Elliot Knight and Julian Hilliard.

Colin Stetson (Hereditary) composed the soundtrack score.


This is a story of cosmic terror about The Gardners, a family who moves to a remote farmstead in rural New England to escape the hustle of the 21st century. They are busy adapting to their new life when a meteorite crashes into their front yard.

The mysterious aerolite seems to melt into the earth, infecting both the land and the properties of space-time with a strange, otherworldly colour.

To their horror, the Gardner family discover that this alien force is gradually mutating every life form that it touches… including them.

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“Visually the film looks great, particularly the FX heavy finale when the color goes into overdrive and the environment becomes unsustainable for human life. By this time, however, not even the film’s proclivity for odd and unusual imagery is enough to overlook the meandering plot and the gratingly out of synch performances.” Bloody Disgusting

“Just like the Gardner family, Color Out of Space is held down by its own excess baggage: the baggage of irrelevant plot and comedy take the film further away from horrors found in the book and mutates it into something more digestible and bland, which may work for some, but not for Lovecraftian fans seeking horror rooted in the unintelligible madness of the original.” CinemaBlend

” …the film as a whole plays like a scrappier, Troma-adjacent Annihilation.  If there is any real complaint to be levelled at Color Out of Space, it’s that it has more ideas than it knows what to do with. Virtually every concept in the sci-fi/horror filmmaker’s cookbook is thrown into the pot, from temporal distortions, paternal madness, bodily transformation and the Greek chorus of a mad old hermit in the woods.” Cinevue

“Yes, the film is scary and shocking and feels Lovecraftian in a way that also plays as modern, but there’s not really anywhere for the story to go except “And then more bad things happened.” Some may derive some giddy glee from the family’s misfortunes, but there’s no dramatic tension to the events. It’s just constant horror with no dramatic investment.” Collider

“Gorgeous, vibrant, and terrifying, Color Out of Space is packed with Lovecraftian creatures and cosmic infections galore. It’s not perfect but goddamn is it a wild ride.” Dread Central

” …even if it takes a while for Color Out of Space to get to that final act, it still feels wholly satisfying to find something so profoundly ethereal amidst the carnage and dementedness. That’s what the short story was able to convey, and Stanley does the best job anyone has done in adapting it.” Goomba Stomp

” …the movie goes from 0 to 100 before we get much semblance of who anybody is, sapping their eventual horrifying transitions of any sort of real disturbance. Stanley then proceeds to slam together tense and violent scenes with little flow or atmosphere, while the soundtrack just continues to get louder. Lovecraft’s subtly unnerving terror is nowhere to be found.” In the Seats

Colour Out of Space is definitely worth seeing on a big screen (for the gorgeous colour-filled visuals, which frequently get so bright, you have to squint) and with a big crowd (who will lap up the melodrama and humour that is sure to be found in a recent Nic Cage genre flick). It’s funny, entertaining, grotesque and both looks and sounds beautiful.” Jumpcut Online

“A schlock tour-de-force that challenges your gag reflex with a menagerie of grotesqueries. Even though most of the CGI is spotty, the practical effects are inspired and horrifying and the sound design is so effectively overbearing it is nauseating. What with some of the creature designs, the pink color palette, and the humor being mostly intentional, Color Out of Space feels like a throwback to some of the great gonzo horror films of the 80s and early 90s.” Letterboxd

Nicholas Cage gives an all-time great performance in Color Out of Space. Absolute batshit insanity […] It’s full-blown Lovecraftian horror brought to life in terrifying, psychedelic ways. The finale’s an absolute trip. ” Letterboxd

“It’s a bit of a slow roller, taking its time setting up the eerie atmosphere and giving leads Nicolas Cage and Joely Richardson some room to establish a loving rapport as a big-city couple who’ve retreated to the sticks after a cancer diagnosis […] But once Stanley unleashes the CG-driven chaos he can’t really control it, and Color Out Of Space trades its tension for a barely coherent cosmic light show.” Now

Color Out of Space, a new take on Lovecraft’s story, wisely doesn’t even try to solve the problem of creating an impossible color: it settles for a sickly pink-purple. That works well enough, in part because the hue envelops a film that stays true to the spirit of the Lovecraft story while bringing it into the 21st century.” Polygon

” …the film was never as trippy as it felt it could be, it avoids becoming abstract even if its story being told is really ‘out there’ and confusing. The story was never meant to be easy to understand but it did feel a little like it was lacking a clear way forward. The special effects are good for the most part and the filmmaking, in general, was very good. Color Out of Space was a film I appreciated more than enjoyed.” The Rotting Zombie

“It’s a sweeping journey that encompasses the deepest connections between family members, and what it is, exactly, that can hold them together and yet break them apart. From beginning to end, Color Out of Space is revealed as a vivid portrait that crawls into the brain and somehow alters the nervous system.” Screen Anarchy

“Lovecraft is always difficult to adapt, despite more attempts being made every single year. Color Out of Space swings wilder and connects less reliably than fellow enthusiast Stuart Gordon’s several Lovecraft-based features. Still, it’s disorderly fun that sports a directorial personality distinct enough to make one grateful for Stanley’s return.” Variety

“Most of the effects are practical and they are among the best I’ve seen recently. Especially the monstrosities composed of multiple creatures and/or people fused together. The CGI comes into play in the last half hour. We get occasional busts before then, rendering the story’s indescribable creature perceived only as a flash of strange color. And then the film goes off into a sequence that could best be described as the horror equivalent of 2001’s stargate scene. It’s a stunning visual.” Voices from the Balcony


RLJE Films acquired US distribution rights to Color Out of Space in a low-mid seven-figure deal ahead of its world premiere at Midnight Madness at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

“We’re beyond excited to be reteaming with SpectreVision and XYZ Films for Color Out of Space,” said Mark Ward, Chief Acquisitions Officer for RLJE Films. “Nicolas Cage unleashes another memorable performance – an incredible follow up off the heels of Mandy.”  The film is released theatrically in the USA on January 24th 2020. It was released on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD on February 25th.

In the UK, the film was released theatrically and on-demand on 28th February 2020.



Cast and characters:

  • Nicolas Cage … Nathan Gardner
  • Q’orianka Kilcher … Mayor Tooma
  • Joely Richardson … Theresa Gardner
  • Tommy Chong … Ezra
  • Madeleine Arthur … Lavinia Gardner
  • Brendan Meyer … Benny Gardner
  • Julian Hilliard … Jack Gardner
  • Elliot Knight … Ward Phillips
  • Melissa Nearman … Reporter


SpectreVision partner Daniel Noah has said: “Lovecraft is the dark father of modern horror, and we have been searching for an adaptation that captures the true scope of his cosmic dread for years. Richard Stanley – a wizard in his own right – will at long last bring Lovecraft’s humbling power to the screen unfiltered.”

Technical details:

111 minutes
Aspect ratio: 2.35: 1


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