105 min., 1992
Written by Brent V. Friedman
Directed by Dan O’Bannon
My rating: ★★
I just don’t know…
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The story begins with Claire (Jane Sibbett) entering the office of John Marsh (John Terry) and starting to tell him about her husband, Charles (Chris Sarandon), and that she is concerned. Apparently after he found some information (a book) about his family’s past, he started to act strange, moving to the garage where he started to work on his experiments. She couldn’t take it anymore and decided to talk to him. He decides to take up residence in his family’s old house and continue his experiments. His neighbor doesn’t like all the noise from the delivery trucks coming at night and dropping off some “strange cargo.” So John decides to take up the case and goes to take a look. Meeting Charles, he realizes that there is something wrong with him and starts to try to get to the bottom of things.
Before I go any farther, I just want you to know that I don’t know much of Lovecraft’s written work. I’m going to be reviewing it and not try and compare it to the written story. I’ve heard that this is one of the best adaptations and one of the closest to the source, but since I’ve never read it, I can’t compare it. So I don’t want to hear any bitching about how good it is compared to most of the other adaptations.
One of my two biggest complaints about the movie is that all of the acting is very stiff. The entire cast is just reading line after line and they don’t seem to be taking any of it seriously. They don’t play off of each other and really don’t seem to care about each other. SPOILER: Like when Lonnie (Robert Romanus) dies, John doesn’t even bat an eyelash, and continues on his merry way. SPOILER END. They are just going through their lines and are just trying to get the scene done. The only exception is Chris Sarandon. He is the only one that seems to be trying, if only just a little bit.
The other complaint is the dialogue. Holy crap can it be anymore hammy and over the top? Every line in the movie seems so far removed from reality that it seems like you’re watching a stage play as done by fifth graders. “I quit smoking.” Insert ten second pause. “Good for you.” Most of the dialogue just falls out of their mouths like this.
The upside was the effects. I really liked the effects, even when then came off hokey. Most of them were very inventive and when they were on the screen, it was hard to not see the good work that went into them. Great job overall.
Was it good? Was it bad? Well, it’s really a little bit of both. Acting and dialogue pretty much suck, but the effects as a whole are actually awesome. If you are into Lovecraft, you should probably check it out, but if Lovecraft isn’t your thing, then you might want to skip it.Have You Read...?