Scores (reviewers, not movie):
Number of cuddles: 0
Number of insights: 0
Number of yawns: 4
As we walked out behind the three other audience members, I asked Zanna if she thought the strange and unsettling movie we'd just watched had been some sort of environmental fable.
"Yes," she said, "There were some strong parallels with [2018 sci-fi horror] Annihilation."
"I never finished Annihilation," I said.
"No, me neither."
That ended the Annihilation segment of our discussion.
Later, as she was driving us home, I said: "I enjoyed it."
"Did you?" she asked, as surprised to hear this as I was to hear myself saying it.
"Yes," I said, "although I kept thinking, 'Is this just because we're at the movies? If we were at home would I be hating it?'"
"Oh," she said, "I would have turned it off for sure."
"Did you not like it?"
"No. I'm never going to like a horror film."
"I didn't hate it, but I don't enjoy being scared."
"What about being able to cuddle up to me?" (She hadn't cuddled up to me.)
She said: "The more and more outrageous it got the less scared I was and the more bored I got. I definitely got bored in the last 25 minutes."
"Did you?" I asked. "You didn't want to know what was going to happen?"
"No. I really didn't care."
"Why was that?" I asked.
"If I thought there was a deeper meaning or something meaningful happening, something that was going to make me think - but it wasn't working. I wasn't contemplating life or anything so I didn't really have any interest in what happened at the end."
I said: "I kept trying to figure out: 'What's the deeper thing here? Or is this just a film that's supposed to scare us? Are the people from space just people from space?'"
She yawned again.
I went on: "Why did we have the well? Why were they in the water? Why is the water so important?"
She said, "Is that just about water being life force, necessary for life, and, like, it was toxic, but he was continuing to drink it?"
I said: "There seems to be too much significance placed on water for it to be just some arbitrary carrier of horror."
She said: "Is it just that if something gets into the waterways, you're f***ed?"
I said, "It must be more significant than that."
She said, "Oh, it could be."
We both yawned.
I don't like being scared. I don't enjoy feeling my heartbeat quicken or my cortisol levels rise. If I wanted to do that, I would let Greg drive more often.
I'm not the target audience for Color Out of Space. Which is not to say it's a bad film. It's also not to say it's a good film. It is to say I did not, and was never going to, enjoy watching it.
Here are some observations I can make about this film I didn't enjoy:
I didn't fall asleep. We were awake from about 5am with our kids and the movie started at 8.30pm - late. I'm prone to falling asleep in darkened rooms so was well primed for a wee mid-movie snooze, but that didn't happen. I'll put that in the pro column.
The film made me jump several times. I believe some people enjoy that.
There are some really gross bloody eyeball, slimy alien, gunky transformation-type visuals that may also be pleasing to some people.
There is a small boy who whispers nonsensical but apparently meaningful lines while staring into the distance.
Nicolas Cage, and the rest of the cast, give very good performances. In the car on the way to the cinema, Greg made the outrageous claim (as he is wont to do) that "screen acting is not an art". It was in service of some greater argument he was making about Nicolas Cage and the apparently arbitrary notion of liking actors.
Of course, his argument was dumb. I like lots of actors and will watch films because they are in them - both because I trust their choice of material and because I think they can elevate material that's not great. With this film, Cage does the latter. Delivering the line "I don't know what I believe anymore" without making me laugh or barf requires undeniable expertise.
On our way home, Greg tried to engage me in a conversation about the meaning of the film. Normally, I would be all over this kind of discussion but I really had no interest. If you like "cosmic horror", as I heard one of the three other people in the cinema call it while we were walking out, then you may find a discussion about the hidden meaning of this film interesting. I did not, but I think it probably has something to do with water.
Also, Elliot Knight, who plays a hydrologist and is the narrator of the film, is very good looking.