Tyler Cook of the Portly Politico and I have decided to cross link on our reviews for this movie. We both thought this movie was awful but we thought that readers should see nuanced differences. Actually what you’ll see is our two styles. Tyler is a witty and intelligent writer and I like to rant. So here’s the link to his review and below is mine.
This is a cinematic version of Lovecraft’s story about a meteor that lands in a rural Massachusetts farmyard and infects the soil and the water with an entity that subtly alters the plants and animals and then sucks the vitality and finally the life out of every living thing around it before shooting back into space leaving a dead landscape behind. But let us say the movie takes liberties with this plot.
How do I hate this movie? Let me count the ways.
First off, I despised all the characters in this story. I even despised the seven-year-old who was the youngest kid in the family. They are stereotypical yuppie transplants to the countryside and all of them have extremely annoying personalities. The father is Nicholas Cage and he spends his time milking alpacas and raising heirloom tomatoes. The mother is a financial advisor who has neglected her kids to the point that older son is a useless pothead, the daughter is a bitter Wiccan wannabe and the younger son appears to be a doofus. Tommy Chong is the forest dwelling pot grower who supplies the son with his weed and also seems to be acquainted with alien invasions. Then there is the hydrologist who is taking water samples for a new reservoir that will be covering the property that Nick Cage’s family currently inhabits. He walks around warning everyone about the dangers of meteorites and contaminated water but achieves nothing other than somehow surviving the apocalypse.
Next is the plot. In the original Lovecraft story, the baleful influence of the entity slightly modifies the appearance of plants and animals but its most powerful effect is the sapping of the life force and eventually even the structural integrity of organic materials. By the end of the book the whole farm where the meteor lands, the house, the trees, the animals and people, the wagons and the fences crumble to dust. Only stone and metal remain.
In this version of the story the entity is able to fuse groups of animals together into hideous many-headed monsters. It can disable all communication devices and even alter time, making days and nights shorter as needed. So, they’ve revved up the monster’s power quite a bit. But the use they put this to is horrendous. In one scene the mother and the seven-year-old kid are walking in the dark near the barn when the creature zaps the both of them with its potent “light.” Next, we see that the mother and the little boy have been fused together. His head is attached to her shoulder, their torsos are fused and both of them are writhing in agony. And the older son characterizes what’s happening to them as the younger son being re-absorbed into the mother’s body. Even the thought is horrifying to consider. And later on, the fused creature starts taking on a preying mantis like shape and Nick Cage’s character shoots both of them in the head to end this nightmare. Okay sure, this is a horror movie and it’s no more disgusting than the scenes in John Carpenter’s “The Thing,” but he didn’t use a mother and a little boy as the victims of this abomination. To my mind this is awful.
Finally, the acting. The only cast members I’ve heard of are Nick Cage and Tommy Chong. I’m guessing the rest of the cast is unknown and they should stay that way. They were awful and so were the two better known actors. The script was awful. The plot was tedious and the resolution seemed pointless and annoying. I will say some of the special effects were interesting looking and well done. But not the fused animals and people. Those were hideous and depressing.
I would avoid this movie. Nick Cage has descended indeed from the time when he was a pretty good actor. He should be ashamed that he was in this crap. Seeing this movie has ruined a perfectly good day out of my life. Not recommended.