Daily Archives: July 4, 2018

Colour from the Dark (2008)

*. Colour from the Dark is another kick at the classic H. P. Lovecraft story “The Colour Out of Space,” and in my estimation it’s the worst of them all.
*. Why this particular story has been adapted so many times, when (as in this film) it is so loosely adhered to, is a mystery to me. Leaving that mystery aside, what we have here is the story of a small rural Italian homestead during the Second World War that awakens an evil force from the bottom of a well.
*. Two significant changes to the source story will have been noticed in just this brief description. In the first place there is no meteorite bringing the “colour” to Earth from “out of space.” Second: this is an evil force. Not just unhealthy, like the apparently radioactive glow in Lovecraft, but corrupt in a spiritual sense. The force doesn’t make humans sick, it possesses them and makes them spit on crucifixes and attack priests.
*. Just to expand a bit on this second point, I’ve written before about the almost comical inefficacy of religious officers in the battle against evil in recent films concerned with demonic possession. But the priest who comes to peform an exorcism in Colour from the Dark really outdoes himself, turning tail and running away as soon as he determines that “the devil is here.” Not a good showing for the Church, padre. Unfortunately, for him, he comes back and, despite being better prepared for his battle with the devil, gets stabbed in the head with his own crucifix. So much for God! In Italy even!
*. I can’t say much good about this one. It had no budget and tries too hard. I’ve read some people praising the photography but to me it looked like a telenovela. The script is a mess, full of people behaving in incredibly stupid ways and cluttered with extraneous plot elements that just distract us from the main story. The acting, espcecially by the male lead, is terrible. There’s far too heavy a reliance on dream sequences, to the point where you give up trying to figure out if something is “really” happening until you’re absolutely sure they’re not going to cut to the character involved jumping up in bed covered in sweat.
*. But I think the real problem is the one I mentioned about trying too hard. Director Ivan Zuccon is firing in too many different directions at once. Why make Alice a mental case? Why bother with the doll? Why have so many dream sequences? Why include all that stuff about the corpse in the forest? Indeed, why set this story during wartime at all?
*. Well, it’s not totally without interest. Not totally. The transformation of the farm into a dessicated wasteland looks OK, and the ending, though a downer, isn’t bad. But honestly, I think you really need to have some time to kill to want to waste any of it on this one.