The Call of Cthulhu

H.P Lovecraft is, without a doubt, one of the greatest writers of horror literature of ALL-TIME. Call me a fanboy, but the man is second only to Edgar Allen Poe when it comes to dark, dreary, and suspenseful stories. From his early works to his latest, the man definitely knew how to create the most macabre, tense, and entertaining horror pieces the world has ever seen. So, naturally, I didn't know what to think of an adaptation of arguably Lovecraft's magnum opus - The Call of Cthulhu. After watching the film, however, I can gladly say that the film stays true to Lovecraft's short story.

The story is, in a way, almost like a documentary. It follows a Boston anthropologist, Francis Wayland Thurston, as he uncovers documents left behind by his great-uncle, Professor George Gammel Angell. The documents slowly reveal to Thurston, and the audience, of the diabolical secrets his uncle uncovered regarding an ancient deity - Cthulhu - and the cult that worships it. Through the events of three different narratives, we're told of the terror that is Cthulhu, as well as the inevitable doom that follows it.

I really appreciate the choice to make this movie a silent film, as the mood and atmosphere of silent film is the only thing that could ever capture a Lovecraftian setting. It's hard to put into words, but there's something about the style and voicelessness of silent films that really adds a great mood of fear.

The visuals are, admittedly, a bit amateur. The film looks good, but it's quite easy to tell that this was an independently-made movie. Regardless, the atmosphere set by the film makes the visuals much stronger than they'd be by themselves. The film's score is also nicely done, matching each of their respective scenes perfectly. It's not grand or epic, but it doesn't need to be, and that's what really impressed me about the score.

The film has one fatal flaw, however. They show Cthulhu. Anyone who's read Lovecraft can understand why this is such a flaw, as these creatures were written as being "so terrifying that they dare not be described". The very sight of them is supposed to make an individual go mad. I can understand why this was done, as the appearance is in the story, but the filmmakers should have understood the error of revealing the creature in a film with such a low budget. At least the dream sequences, plus the swamp scene, are able to better capture the mood of Lovecraft's short story.

The film's flawed, there's no doubt about that. However, I highly commend it for doing what I previously thought was impossible - creating a successful adaptation of an H.P Lovecraft story. The atmosphere, the characters, the feelings of dread - they're all well-executed in this film adaptation. It may appear amateurish, but The Call of Cthulhu is saved by a great script that follows the original short story with as much love as any fan of the author would have.

7.5/10 - Good





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