Director – Andrew Leman
Cast – Ramon Allen Jr., John Bolen, Daryl Ball, Leslie Baldwin, Mike Dalager, Chad Fifer, Matthew Q. Fahey
Release Year – 2005
Reviewed by John of the Dead
After hearing great buzz about this film from trusted friends of mine, I finally decided to put other films in my queue aside and give this one a watch. I have always been a fan of silent horror films such as the epic The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, although I will admit they are not my expertise nor specialty. Nonetheless, as a fan of H.P. Lovecraft as well, this film had my devout interest before the opening credits hit the screen. After viewing this flick I can say that this is definitely one of the better H.P. Lovecraft adaptations, a film that bleeds its own creativity.
The Call of Cthulhu follows Louis(Ramon Allen Jr.) who is asking that the remaining documents his uncle passed onto him before his death be destroyed. Why? Louis claimed the documents explain a lifelong investigation his uncle worked on involving mysterious deaths, occurrences, and a mythical Satanic beast referred to as…Cthulhu. As Louis explains to his lawyer/barrister the information that the documents contain, we see the horrors his uncle went though, and the horrors that still plague Louis’s family to this day.
Honestly, if I did not know any better I would believe that this silent film was from the 1920s itself. The grainy look, the musical score, the editing, it all breathed the look and feel of the silent films from that era. Beautiful and horrific, you can see why this film has developed a somewhat cult following since its debut in 2005.
The storyline is an engaging one, which is typical of most works that are adapted from H.P. Lovecraft’s stories(while some of the films have sucked, the storylines have usually been pretty sweet). I am personally a fan of films told in flashback form, and this film did a fine job with that aspect. Some of you may be surprised to read that given this film is a silent film, but yes, a SILENT film can tell a story in flashback form as long as it is executed(writing AND direction) properly, and it was.
Andrew Leman’s direction in this film was top-notch, and I greatly respect his effort in this film given how much it looked like it was filmed back in the silent film era. His visuals were stunning, and his use of stop-motion effects for the real star of the film, Cthulhu, was epic and a nice touch. Pacing-wise this film did a fine job, although I must admit that this flick is only about 47 minutes in length, which I thought was a great idea given this film is a silent flick and most likely would have turned slowed down a lot if had a full length(90 minute) runtime.
Overall, this is a great watch that I recommend to all fans of silent horror films or/and H.P. Lovecraft’s work. This flick moves beautifully and is thoroughly engaging, give this a watch.