There’s a saying that the horror you don’t see is worse than any monster you see directly, however well done the effect department’s work is. That is certainly true for In the Mouth of Madness, which tries it best to depict an incursion of Lovecraftian horrors into our world via a Stephen King-like famous horror writer. The movie never manages to be horrifying at all, despite all its monsters and the approaching end of the world. The great effects merely manage to gives the movie a cartoony feeling, making the horror feel artificial and unreal.
And yet, it’s probably one of the best Lovecraft-inspired movies I’ve seen. It runs wild and far with its idea of a horror-writer making his fictional creations into reality through the believe of his fans. From the axe-attack of a raving editor on the main character up to the end of the movie that reveals itself (in a meta kind of way) to be the movie version of the book, the movie never slows down.
It’s a movie that deploys all the tricks and then some. Tricks in terms of special effects, tricks in terms of camera movements, lightning and slow motions and the usual tricks of the horror genre (waking up, only to wake up again and again). This only enhances the cartoony effect of the movie, but it’s a great show all around. It never frightens, but its unique story and unstoppable descend into madness makes it utterly worth watching.
There’s no shying away from the end of the world, no last ditch effort to save the world and return everything to normality. Insanity reigns and man is it fun getting there.