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STUDIO: Dark Sky Films
RUNNING TIME: 76 minutes
- Feature commentary with Director Henry Saine, Actor/Producer Devin McGinn, and Kyle Davis
- Extended scene
- Pencil Test with commentary by Director Henry Saine
- Still gallery
A descendant of H.P. Lovecraft is chosen to guard an ancient relic that could awaken Cthulhu and spell doom for the world. Or something.
Kyle Davis, Devin McGinn, Barak Hardley, various tentacled folk
Jeff Phillips (Kyle Davis) is an office drone who discovers after coming home to find a strange man in his apartment that he is a descendant of legendary horror writer H.P. Lovecraft (the ‘P’ in ‘H.P.’ stands for Phillips, and that’s his last name…get it?!) and that he has been chosen by a council created by Lovecraft himself to protect the Relic of Cthulhu. Together with Charlie (Devin McGinn), his co-worker and roommate, and Paul (Barak Hardley), a Lovecraft nerd they knew from High School who still lives with his grandmother, they have to set out (read: go maybe a few miles) to save the world and keep the relic out of the hands of Cthulhu’s minions. That’s pretty much the extent of it.
The way this film tells it, H.P. Lovecraft’s stories weren’t fictional, but all too terrifyingly real. It claims that he wrote his stories to disguise the truth of the matter. And apparently, the author himself created a secret council that would protect mankind from these horrible creatures, namely Cthulhu and his minions. But the surviving members of that council have become too old to protect the relic, so they seek out the next member of the Lovecraft bloodline- Jeff Phillips. Together with roommate Charlie and a nerd they knew in High School, Paul, they have to prevent Cthulhu’s cult from awakening their Lord from his slumber beneath the ocean. I’m not gonna claim that i’m close to being the biggest Lovecraft fan, as i’ve only read a handful of his stories (go ahead, revoke my geek card) but i’ve read enough of his stuff to have a deep appreciation for the mythology and you watch this film and pray that if nothing else, someone will see it and say “Hey, let’s make a REAL Cthulhu film and get a budget of $150 million!” but I don’t know that that would happen. That being said, if THESE guys were given a bigger budget, which in this case would probably involve “more millions” instead of a few, I think this would have been really awesome. As it stands, it’s just decent.
The creature effects run the gamut from solid to awful. Cthulhu’s head minion General Starspawn looks pretty decent, but then the other creatures surrounding him don’t look very believable. Almost like stuff that could be picked up at a Halloween store. But for a film that’s generally more low budget than most, the creatures could be far, far worse than they are. And there are a few animated sequences that are particularly well done, almost surprisingly so. The opening title sequence is pretty impressive as well, comprising of mostly hand-drawn images depicting scenes of underwater creatures. Really neat stuff, and along with another sequence during the movie, presented in comic book-style, that would make for a potentially neat animated film/series or standalone DVD release.
The horror comedy tone of the film easily owes a lot to films like Evil Dead 2 or Shaun of the Dead, and while the film is neither as memorable nor as funny as those films, it doesn’t hurt the genre. It never tries to be too serious, even though there is a lot of death sprinkled throughout, but it’s all very light in tone. The characters have some decent chemistry together, but my problem is that you never really feel like they’re on a “journey”. It doesn’t even feel like they travel more than a mile from where they live, and the climax of the film takes place in some sort of open canyon in a trailer. The final battle is pretty anti-climactic and poorly done, but you can never be too pissed at a film that was never aiming higher than “B-movie” anyway. This is the kind of film that you’d hate the guts out of if it was made by anybody you had even remotely heard of before, or had reason to expect greatness from.
The film is heavily set up for a sequel, and while the intentions of the filmmakers to make another one is unclear, with a bigger budget it could actually not suck. I’m not saying this is a film you need to rush out and buy, but if you get a chance to see it and like Lovecraft (if you don’t, kill yourself) you might not be disappointed. If you’re a fan of Lovecraft it isn’t close to being the best thing he’s ever been attached to (that’s Re-Animator for you folks playing at home) but you could do far, far, worse. It’s a mostly silly film that doesn’t take itself all too seriously. I hate to spoil this, but the titular baddie never makes an appearance other than during the animated sequence in the film. Which is pretty disappointing, because I think you’ll all agree that the presence of Cthulhu (even a poor-CG Cthulhu) would elevate the quality of almost anything it was in. Oh well. Here’s hoping (ok, maybe not hoping…..maybe “mildly concerned for the potential existence of” works better) there’s a sequel!
A trailer. A rough storyboard of the animated sequence that’s in the film done in pencil, which is really god-damned neat. And a feature commentary by Saine, Kyle Davis, and Devin McGinn. Funny at times, but I don’t really need to know the name of every single secondary actor/extra in the film. Maybe that’s just me being an asshole, though.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars