By: Justin Hopkins
As another day at home passes, another movie comes up to cross of the list. Following in the footsteps of my review of Prince Of Darkness. We get to movie three of John Carpenter’s Apocalyptic Trilogy, In The Mouth Of Madness. I wasn’t sure what to think when turn on this flick. Knowing very little about it, but after seeing Sam Neel in Event Horizon. Was more than willing to watch him in another horror movie. With it now officially crossed off the list. Let’s dive in and discuss shall we.
The movie kicks off with our main character, John Trent being forcibly admitted to an Insane Asylum. Where after a brief moment of trying to plead his sanity. Experiences a graphic hallucination. When Dr. Wrenn comes to see him, we find him drawing crosses on every inch on his padded cell, his body and clothes and he does not want to leave anymore. After a brief conversation, we learn that he is an Insurance Investigator and that this all started with the disappearance of Sutter Cain. We start the flashback with him tearing apart a man trying to pull an insurance scam. While he is having lunch with a man named Robbie, who is about to talk to him about the Arcane Case, when they are attacked by a crazy man with an Ax. All around his eyes are red and mutated with two pupils squished together. That night, we learn that people are rioting all over the globe. Demanding copies of Sutter Cain’s book. The next day while he is meeting with Arcane. We learn that Sutter Cain has gone missing and that they want his new book. Due to the fact he is world’s highest grossing bookseller, and that the man who tried to kill him the day before, was Sutter’s Agent. Who was the only one who knew how to get ahold of Sutter and read bits of the new book. Sutter’s work has had an almost psychotic effect on some of it’s readers you see. John doesn’t buy any of this. Believing it to be a mixture of a set-up on their end and mass hysteria over just the latest pop craze. Nevertheless, he picks up some of the books to aide in his investigation, and has a dream sequence of an assault he sees earlier. Where a cop is beating on a young man, only this time, the cop is a monster, and John is trapped between him and a group lead by the agent. Who tells him he can see him, before the mob turns on the agent. Shaken by the dream, he throws himself into his investigation with vigor, and he discovers clues to Sutters location, using images cut from the covers of his books. Coming up with a town in New Hampshire, that he believes is ” Hobbs End.” After calling out the Agent, asking one last time if this was a hoax or not. He heads off to find the town, with assistant Linda Styles. Where after a hit and run that where the biker left before help, but putting a freight into Linda, and a chilling sequence of events that leads them into the town. Where Styles picks up on things around town that was written in his books, and that the events happening are the same from his newest book and John trying to tell her how crazy that is, and this is a good spot to move on.
This story is wonderfully written. Everything that is seen at the start paying off in a big way as the movie goes along. A tremendous example of Dramatic Irony from Linda, when she says, when the insane outnumber the sane, he’d find himself locked away in a padded room. We already know they are leading up to him being locked away and leaves us waiting to see how twisted of a situation this must lead to to put him there and a great mystery unfolding around, and not quite sure how it will conclude and chilling twist at the end. That was there from the start. Which makes a second watch all the more enjoyable.
Much like any Carpenter Film, the gore is on point as usual. There weren’t as many people dying to see like we normally get. The Gore mainly coming from prosthetics. Such as the cop, hordes of infected, and the creepy kids, who were absolutely chilling. I especially love the fact that they never really reuse the same morphed eyes. The cop having red and white pinwheels, and the little girl’s. Even the young man outside of the bookstore. Which made each seem special in their own way. The body contortions of Linda’s crab walking was unnerving. Then you got the actual tentacled, slimy grotesque monster. The lighting and way they came across was excellent. Not looking to cartoonish and just beautifully handled. Huge round of applause to everyone who worked on special effects.
I never talk enough about background settings and they do that so well here to. The town looked like any normal, small town along a highway. Which really added to the isolation feeling. The long, dark corridor he was chased through looked amazing. Looked and felt like it would just go on forever. The church was always framed in a way to give it both a sense of prestige and menace.
Casting was near perfect here. Sam Neill brought John Trent to life, and was a treat to watch as he slowly descended into madness. Seeing desperation as he tried to hold on to rational thought. Never wanting to sway from a reasonable explanation. Still calling Sutter a hack horror writer when he was almost at his lowest. Jurgen Prochnow did great as Sutter. The back and forth between him and Sam were entertaining and the enjoyment he got from what he was about to happen carried heavy through him. I do kind of wish we got more of the human side from Julie Carmen’s Linda. She was great at her crazy side, but think more could have been done while she was human. Small and only nitpick I have with the movie.
Normally, would talk about the ending, but don’t want to give away anything about it to anyone who hasn’t seen it. Despite my spoiler warning at the top. If you haven’t checked it out, would strongly suggest you give it a watch. Great film for anytime. Final Grade- S
I hope you enjoyed reading and as always…
Thank You For Reading.