For Reel

The Call of Cthulhu (2005)
April 29, 2017, 7:10 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Andrew Leman
4 Stars
The Call of CthulhuThat The Call of Cthulhu was produced by an independent company known as the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society tips off that it was a labor of love more than anything else. What surprises is that, in addition to paying justice to the eponymous story in keeping nearly all details the same (the twist that the narrator is driven insane by the findings only brings the film closer to the spirit of the writer’s fiction), it is just as dedicated as an homage to filmmakers such as Murnau and Lang. Using what the filmmakers dubbed “Mythoscope”, the film incorporates both vintage techniques such as the use of miniatures and stop motion animation and more modern, computer-focused practices. Therefore, the film not only uses impressively scaled, abstract sets in the vein of The Cabinet of Caligari, but can precisely and convincingly use special effects to allow actors to inhabit several parts of the set in a way that seamlessly conveys depth and scale. As a filmed narrative, the film suffers in the same way the source material does—the episodic nature of the plot feels less like a steady investigation and more rambling, whereas Lovecraft’s more linear works tended to develop the themes of madness and dread with a sharper sense of progression. Regardless, the filmmakers’ care for technique elevates this beyond what would expect of a “fan film”—in some sequences, the effort recalls the films of Guy Maddin, who similarly uses the silent film aesthetic in achieving a tone of madness.

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