While sorting the affairs of his late Uncle, a man accidentally stumbles across a series of dark secrets connected to an ancient horror waiting to be freed.While sorting the affairs of his late Uncle, a man accidentally stumbles across a series of dark secrets connected to an ancient horror waiting to be freed.While sorting the affairs of his late Uncle, a man accidentally stumbles across a series of dark secrets connected to an ancient horror waiting to be freed.
This adaptation of "The Call of Cthulhu" does the unthinkable and for the first time, it manages to adapt a Lovecraft story keeping faithful to the style and technique of the revered master of horror. In it, Matt Foyer plays a mysterious, apparently dying, anonymous Man, who begins to narrate the bizarre series of events that put him in such a fragile condition, events tied to the secrets he discovered from his old grandfather's own investigations, all related to the mysterious name "Cthulhu", and an ancestral statue of strange design. And so the man continues the narration of what he found in his adventure, secrets that no man should be allowed to discover, as terrible horrors are everything that awaits to those who have heard the Call of Cthulhu.
Directed by Andrew Leman, the film's most obvious characteristic (some would say "gimmick") is the decision of not only set the film in 1920s (the decade the source story was first published), but also make the film in the predominant style of the 1920s, that is, a silent movie with marked influence of the German Expressionist movement. To the surprise of many (me included), this controversial decision works and it's that black and white style what captures the atmosphere that so many previous Lovecraft adaptations (good and bad) missed to translate. While it's by no means a perfect imitation of the 20s style of silent film-making, at times it really seems like a lost film recently discovered.
The adaptation, written by Sean Branney, remains as close as possible to Lovecraft's short story, and while of course he adds his own touch to make the story "filmable", the script never moves out of the Cthulhu Mythos and shows a deep knowledge of Lovecraft's life and career. Told in an episodic way, the events of the Man's narration follow a pattern crafted to keep the mystery until the final moment,and even when it succeeds in this aspect, this kind of episodic nature makes the film flow a bit slow at times, something really bad for a film that's only 45 minutes long.
The cast is mostly formed by newcomers, but still most of them make an effective appropriate job in capturing the pantomime style of acting of old silent film, although in some scenes their modern approach becomes too apparent (the cultist's scene for example) and therefore a bit fake. Considering their lack of experience in film it can be said that their work is very good. Matt Foyer is probably the best of the bunch, although newcomer Patrick O'Day gives a great performance as the surviving member of the crew of an ill fated ship.
Despite of being an independent film, the movie has a great look and it's obvious how much care and effort they have put on the project. Shot on digital, Andrew Leman tries to make it look like 20s film, and while he fails at times, for the most part it's a very believable recreation of the 20s style. As written above, I think that the problems in the way the film is patterned are the main flaw, as it makes a short film feel long and tiresome at times. Despite this, "The Call of Cthulhu" is a terrific film that shows the enormous potential of its creators.
Hopefully, this remarkable and inventive short film will open the crew the doors to bigger and better projects, as they show a huge promising talent. While "The Call of Cthulhu" is not a perfect film, it certainly is the perfect Lovecraft adaptation as it is the closest one can get to the master's own idea of horror. He would be proud. 8/10
- Oct 29, 2006