Colour from the Dark (2008) – By Nic Brown

H.P. Lovecraft was one of the pioneering writers of horror fantasy. His dark tales wove cosmic conflict into the daily lives of common people, brought monsters from the deep to the surface, and exposed the soft white underbelly of our collective fears of the unknown. Filmmaker Ivan Zuccon has turned his eye to one of Lovecraft’s tales of the supernatural with his film COLOUR FROM THE DARK.

Pietro (Michael Segal) and his wife Lucia (Debbie Rochon) live with Pietro’s sister Alice (Marysia Kay) in a remote Italian village during World War II. Alice, though an adult, seems to have the mind of a child and is plagued by vivid nightmares and a number of almost debilitating fears. Still the family manages to eke out an existence while hoping for the return of Pietro’s brother, Luigi, who is off fighting in the war.

One day Alice loses the bucket for collecting water down the well. She tries to retrieve it but it is stuck fast. Finally Pietro lends a hand and, in the process of freeing the bucket, they unleash something that was trapped inside the well. A strange luminescent color bubbles forth. Pietro and Alice are stunned but put it down to gas or something mundane; this is far from the case.

They soon discover that their common well water has become an elixir that cures illness and makes the vegetables on the farm grow larger and faster than can be imagined. Alice’s fears subside and she even begins talking. Pietro, whose bad leg kept him out of the war, suddenly finds himself able to walk normally. It could be called a miracle, but for the price. Lucia begins a rapid decent into madness, forcing Pietro to lock her away and ask a priest for help. The priest is powerless before whatever has possessed Lucia and she kills him in a frenzy of violence. Meanwhile, the farm itself begins to change, darkening, all color leaving it as the crops rot on the vine and animals die in the fields. Pietro’s only clue is the luminescent glow he sees floating around the farm at night. Now he must try to save his family from an evil he cannot even begin to understand.

COLOUR FROM THE DARK is a moody film that uses visual imagery to great effect. Zuccon makes the unknown force, the color that seeps into his farm and family, a tangible presence. A mixture of fantastical dream sequences and reality keep the viewer guessing about what is happening. The cast all give great performances as they cope with the world around them as it seems to go insane. Rochon is especially good as she takes her character from loving farm wife to murderous monster. Kay’s performance is also worth noting as she brings a convincing air of mental instability to her portrayal of young Alice. The film does drag at times and it tends to overuse some of the digital effects. However, the strong acting and intriguing, if sometimes confusing, story combine with Zuccon’s unique visual style to make COLOUR FROM THE DARK well worth watching. So if you’re in the mood for a journey into a dark world of an unknown evil, check out Ivan Zuccon’s COLOUR FROM THE DARK. It may surprise you.