As they say - "Image Unrelated". And a damn sight better than the subject matter.
Now, in my last review, I briefly mentioned that films based upon H.P.Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos tend to run the gamut from the rare good one, to the not so good. It is in my experiences that those that deal directly with the Mythos, rather than being inspired by, tend to be the bad ones – with the previous film being, rather than outrightly bad, ultimately lazy and uninspired. I recently came upon a bunch of films, shorts mainly, that are adaptations of Lovecraft’s stories (and since the last time I dealt with a direct adaptation, it turned out pretty damn well, I am filled with a little bit of hope). However, I am going to be covering the single full length film in the collection, and one that I have heard bad things about. And now, I am going to see if the simply named Cthulhu is as bad as I have been warned.
First impressions: Oh shitfuck, it’s basically Mumblecore – my most hated of the annoying artfilm conceits. This is going to be a fucking chore. I will not be able to adequately describe what I have just watched, without swearing my everlovin’ head off. It’s going to be easier to say what I didn’t like about it than what I did. Sigh, let’s get down to it... Warning, I will be comparing the various aspects of this film to other, better films.
WHY THE FUCK IS THIS IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST? OK, I get that there is some lovely scenery, architecture and the like (an aspect that I mentioned in my Wicker Man review); but goddammit – if you are making a film CALLED Cthulhu; you set that shit in fucking Lovecraft Country. Now, for all its faults, at least The Last Lovecraft got that right. Yes, I understand that not all of the Mythos stories themselves were set in New England, but they at least started there or mentioned there or something – this...NOTHING! It’s all Oregon, Alaska and NOT New England.
There is absolutely ZERO sense of dread in this story. Would you like to know something about H.P. Lovecraft? Sure, he may have been a borderline insane, xenophobic shut-in at times, but dude knew how to build a sense of dread (something he learned from his fandom of Edgar Allen Poe). This managed to fail on every level of dread build – anything even remotely strange; our supposed hero was able to get away from with nigh on zero interaction. Honestly, there was a better sense of dread in Garden State.
No-one in this festering crapheap of a film can act, or if they can, they came to set not caring a whit about what they put on screen. There were better performances in Primer, and they were fucking scientists. I am going to presume everyone involved in this is (or at least was) an actor. Seriously – when the only person in the entire cast who is remotely not mumbling their way through the proceedings is Tori Fuckin’ Spelling, then you should just shut the whole thing down...well, her and Drunky McScreamingplotdevelopmentguy.
Oh FFS – there is a pointlessly shoehorned in “main character is gay, main character’s daddy hates main character and is all ultra religious” aspect. There is nothing wrong with being gay, but really? Pushing that particular agenda in through a Mythos story (which at times was secondary to the “accept my sexuality, you closed-minded family” story) isn’t really a good, or even fitting, mix. Does it go anywhere? I think we all know the answer to that one...And, to top it all off, you have Tori playing a man-hungry slutbag who throws herself at our hero in a ham-handed “re-telling” of The Wicker Man (whoops, I ruined the plot for you – thank me, this means you don’t have to go through the pain of this film).
The film, rather than having the sense of dread I was talking about, mistakes being slow for building dread – and rather than that, just ends up being boring as batshit. I started checking the timecode about 30 minutes in, and, upon seeing how much of the film was left, had the only real scare of the entire film.
And now, the positives... Well, as I said, at least the landscape and surrounds were pretty and creepy (having been to the area myself, I can attest to that – and, OK, I will be nice; if you aren’t going to set your Mythos story in Lovecraft Country, you can do a lot worse than the Pacific Northwest); so there’s that. Also, at least the script writer didn’t fuck with the core tenets of the Mythos too much – he just had no fucking idea how to write a compelling story without taking from other, better, properties and twisting them for the worse.
In conclusion – this was the worst film I’ve seen all year; and I have seen Troll 2, The Room, Birdemic AND Megapiranha multiple times. I promise, the next film I review on this thing WILL be a good film – I swear to you.