Sunday, October 28, 2018

Movie Review: "In the Mouth of Madness" (1994)

In the Mouth of Madness 1994 John Carpenter movie poster Sam Neill
Image Source

Director: John Carpenter
Year: 1994
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

An insurance investigator is tasked with finding a missing horror author for the publishing agency his company insures. As he searches for this author, he gets pulled deeper and deeper into his bizarre world.

In the Mouth of Madness 1994 movie still Sam Neill John Carpenter
"Sane and insane could easily switch places if the insane became the majority." (Image Source)
What is real? What is fiction? Are we really just characters in someone else's fantasy? "In The Mouth of Madness" is directed by famed horror director John Carpenter, who has helmed such films as "Halloween," "The Thing," and "They Live." It is written by Michael De Luca, who is better known as a producer but does have some other writing credits like "Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare" and "Judge Dredd" (1995). John Trent (Sam Neill) is an insurance investigator who prides himself on rooting out fraudulent claims. His most recent assignment is to a publishing company that has a policy on their most prolific author, Sutter Cane (J├╝rgen Prochnow), who specialized in horror stories. Cane has gone missing, and Trent has to make sure it isn't all some big publicity stunt before paying out any insurance on him. John's investigation leads him to the small town of Hobb's End, which is on no map but is where all of Cane's novels take place. While in Hobb's End, strange things start happening that seem like they are right out of a Cane novel as the line between reality and fiction begin to blur until Trent can no longer tell the difference.
In the Mouth of Madness 1994 movie still
"Reality is not what it used to be." (Image Source)
We've always wanted to watch "In The Mouth of Madness," a surreal horror film that blurs the lines between what is real and what is fantasy (caught in a landslide, no escape from reality???). We must say, we're very impressed with Carpenter's efforts here. The film strikes a proper eerie tone that creates a tension-filled, palpable mood, something that can be lacking in many horror movies. There are many striking visuals and unsettling images that will freak you out and will make you question if what John Trent is going through is real or not. Sam Neill plays this role perfectly, especially towards the end of the film. There's also a bit of tongue-in-cheek comedy, some of which is intentionally a bit goofy, but this gives the audience a brief respite from the other much more violent moments. Tension and excitement abound as people are driven crazy and become ax-wielding maniacs without warning. The film also explores some basic philosophical concepts about reality and our perception of reality, how what is sane and insane are all social constructs based on popular opinion. One big idea is that if the insane become the majority, then the sane will appear to be the crazy ones, and just like "Suicide Squad" said, "you know what they say about the crazy ones." We can't help but think we're getting closer and closer to that reality in the age of the internet where misinformation spreads like wildfire. Some of the effects are a little dated, sure, but we believe they are still effective for the most part. Some are downright gross, which is a good thing when it comes to horror.
In the Mouth of Madness 1994 movie still Sam Neill John Carpenter
"God's not supposed to be a hack horror writer." (Image Source)
We totally dug "In the Mouth of Madness." It presents many interesting concepts, some smashing performances, and a mind-bogglingly excellent viewing experience. Horror fans everywhere must check this out!

My Rating: 8.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 8.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.2/10
RT Rating: 54%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

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