In the Mouth of Madness


What is reality?

I have said it a few times while reviewing films, and I’ll say it again here: I love Lovecraft. I love the grotesque, the unknown, the mystery and disturbing reality beyond human perception. In the Mouth of Madness is one of the few films I’ve seen that truly captures H.P. Lovecraft’s vision.

John Carpenter does an excellent job of building atmosphere here without being over-the-top. The sense of unease and paranoia exhibited through strange imagery and brooding music fits the intent of the film perfectly. I also really like the fact that the truth is ambiguous. Was John Trent (Sam Neill) crazy, or was everything real? What does it mean to be sane?

I love the imagery that Carpenter uses and the practical effects – save the animatronic old lady cutting up her husband – were well done. Some of the acting was bad, but I attribute that to the time period rather than the script or the actual abilities of those involved. Sam Neill was excellent, as always.

The plot itself is amazing and well-deserving of a Lovecraftian mythos. H.P. Lovecraft himself was persecuted and accused of influencing his readers through his “evil” works, and thus art continues to imitate reality through In the Mouth of Madness.

The only concern I have after viewing this film is whether or not I accelerated the arrival of the Old Ones…

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