With the disappearance of hack horror writer Sutter Cane, all Hell is breaking loose...literally! Author Cane, it seems, has a knack for description that really brings his evil creepy-crawlies to life. Insurance investigator John Trent is sent to investigate Cane's mysterious vanishing act and ends up in the sleepy little East Coast town of Hobb's End. The fact that this town exists as a figment of Cane's twisted imagination is only the beginning of Trent's problems....
Directed by: John Carpenter
. Starring: Sam Neill
, Julie Carmen
, Jürgen Prochnow
, David Warner
, John Glover
, Bernie Casey
, Peter Jason
, Charlton Heston
, Frances Bay
, Wilhelm von Homburg
, Kevin Rushton
, Gene Mack
, Conrad Bergschneider
. Music by: John Carpenter
, Jim Lang
The bizarre thing sometimes about writing and reading fictional books are they are always about heightened or different realities. Each of the characters that are written and involved in the action depending on how their written feel like regular people despite whatever role their suppose to play. In a way these things are practically creating a certain existence and when we read or write these stories we suspend our disbelief because depending on how much we enjoy the story we want to almost believe it's real.
This is my third favorite movie from my favorite movie director John Carpenter and it's also one of my personal favorite films in general; but also the last in his apocalypse trilogy (my favorite is "The Thing") It's one of those surreal horror films or just films in general you don't see often it's something that shows up on an occasional amount of years or could slip though the cracks. This isn't just a film it's an experience, because it thinks outside the box and beyond. It was also a little love letter and satire of H.P. Lovecroft stories which is cool because I'm a fan of his stories.
I like it's plot which it's a bit uncannily similar to the film "The Ninth Gate" but that's a different story. Anyway in format it seems like a simple tracking mission mystery but what makes those kinds of plots interesting is one thing always turns into another, and this film does that but takes a more radical approach because it screws with you perception of reality in the film and pulls the rug from under you when you least expect it to.
The protagonist despite unreliable is good, Insurance investigator John Trent played well by underrated actor Sam Neil. John is a cynicrealist and control freak. He loves to exercise disillusionment and his job supports it, but the thing about him is he has a low viewpoint on humanity in general probably due to the encounter of one scam artist too many in his profession. This fallible almost could make him unlikeable but what makes him likable at least to me is he always has a sense of humor, he's not afraid to satires on himself, this almost gives us a small sense of hope that he will be capable of doing what he should to combat evil. But as I've said he's an unreliable protagonist I like at times how you question this character's sanity because there are time it seems like he could be losing it, like when he cut the covers of the paperback copies of Sutter Kane. And just the simple fact these are forces that are forces beyond his control and understanding. The antagonist Sutter Kane is also great despite not being in the film that long he just has this presence where on the outside he seems like an ordinary guy (like most authors are) but you sense there is something supernatural about him, after all everything he's written has came true.
I love the unsettling feeling it gives you, once again John's trademark feeling of isolation, doom and dread which help successfully add to the feeling that the world could be ending. From all the weird crap that happens in the film you just aren't sure of anything. The special effects from K and B are great, I even like the town setting which are reminiscent of the Silent Hill video game series since it always takes place in a town with supernatural activity. We see some Chtulu like creatures, some street gang that look all messed up, and one scene that always gave me the creeps was the infamous boy on a bike scene, it was creepy because it underlined the inescapable truth that we were young once but growing old. And my favorite set piece is the Black Chirch which is the spookiest church I've ever seen, with it's inverted crosses and that mural one look at it gave me the creeps. There is just so much going on in the film that it would require more than one watch to see it all. It's the philosophical conundrum of the giant floating turtle all over again only in a really twisted sense, in that story it was about how our world was really the back of a giant floating turtle; in this film it's on the possibility our world is really a story written by a writer. And of course the music as usual is great, I love the theme song it's just so cool it's one of my favorite movie themes ever.
The film really gets at our perception of reality, are we really in reality or could we truly be characters from a book after all as a saying goes "life is a story". As well as something dark that is if we really have it in us to save humanity as a whole. The task to finding a book has became a cause to save humankind but the thing is Trent is good at dealing with only the practical problems in his profession which is pulling the curtain of fraud from fraud, here it's different because the problem is supernatural which are forces beyond his understanding which makes Trent powerless, despite Trent's efforts at trying to save humanity we discover they prove fruitless.
"In the Mouth of Madness" is a roller coaster ride into the heart and soul of darkness that you wouldn't mind riding again and read some good books.
Review by hellraiser7 from the Internet Movie Database.