Cthulhu (2007) ***1/2
D: Dan Gildark
C: Jason Cottle, Scott Green, Dennis Kleinsmith, Tori Spelling
P: Based on H.P. Lovecraft's novella The Shadow Over Innsmouth. This loose adaptation finds a gay man called back from the city to oversee the auction of his mother's house after her untimely death, only to find he is the latest family member to be affected by a curse that has plagued all of the males in his family and to a greater extent has effected the small seaside town that he is from.
Almost every director that has ever tried to take on an H.P. Lovecraft adaptation has failed miserably. The reason most directors who have tackled Lovecraft have failed is, because they have tried to visual everything. Since Lovecraft’s work tends to be on the ambiguous side, horror fans can interpret it a million different ways. No one way is right or wrong, one way another, but when a Lovecraft adaptation tries to visual something, it is bound to leave many people dissatisfied, because the visual will never be quite what a reader had pictured in their mind or it won’t have the effectiveness of what they have visualized while reading a Lovecraft story.
What Cthulhu gets right, that so many of these other films get wrong, is that it creates an ever growing sense of dread through a series of puzzling events that leaves viewers questioning what has happened to whom or if it even really happened to begin with. In an era, when directors have a wide variety of makeup, costumes, computer effects, etc, Cthulhu isn't afraid to be ambiguous and let the terror unfold in the viewers mind.
Cthulhu is the type of film that takes chances. It those risks that make it work. From presenting a gay main character in a very tangible relationship, to the casting of Tori Spelling in a very effective performance, to the film's overall sensibility of not spelling everything out and allowing for people to ponder over the material & form their own conclusions. Cthulhu achieves something nearly impossible, that sense of H.P. Lovecraft in the visual form of a movie. [R] 105 mins.