Ok. I’ll admit it. I’m a big H.P. Lovecraft fan. So any time a movie comes out based on his works I’ll pay attention and see what is going on. Now granted, films based on his work usually turn out to be…dubious at best. Though I feel we have good films out there that pay a good homage to his works. Also, usually when his works are adapted to film they tend to be updated versions instead of what would now be considered a horror movie period piece. The most recent story adapted to film by Lovecraft is his tale called ‘Cool Air’, and like other adaptations of Lovecraft’s works the original work has been converted to modern day times with some new dialog and a new setting. So how did all of this turn out for ‘Cool Air’? Did it leave me colder than a dead hookers body stuffed in a trunk with a Necronomicon or did it tickle my Cthulhu Funny tentacle? Well set your Air Conditioners to cold and let’s fire this baby up!
The original ‘Cool Air’ short story by Lovecraft was about an unnamed main character who is looking for a place to stay and finds such a place with other tenants one of which is very reclusive. The main character first encounters the mysterious recluse when he has a heart attack and it turns out the recluse is a doctor of superior intelligence that saves his life. Through this meeting the main character comes to find out that the doctor keeps his apartment at a 56 degree temperature at all times through a elaborate air conditioning system for a strange reason that the reader discovers as the story goes on.
‘Cool Air’ the movie sticks to the main plot of the original story very well while also adding its own elements to the story. The main character is a screenwriter down on his luck trying break through his writers block and while driving through the winding roads of the back country of Malibu, he finds a lady and her autistic daughter who is renting out rooms in their old California hillside home. There is also another tenant besides the doctor who has a little side story as well which adds a little extra flavor that was not part of the original story.
The thing about Lovecraft, he wrote many of his stories with a narrative as if the main character is relating the tale through a journal or just reflecting upon their experience to the reader. This has always been tough to translate to film so sometimes we see Lovecraft films directed a different way. ‘Cool Air’ however step up to the challenge of trying to show a film while also giving us narration and this, my friends, is what I found to be the strongest point of the film. Lovecraft was always known for being very verbose and use what I like to call, ‘One dollar words.’ in his stories. While the movie doesn’t try to use big words like Lovecraft did the writer does an absolutely fantastic job with the narration part of the film, evoking a very eloquent speech from out main character as he relates the story throughout the film as the film also plays out. I will say in this regard the film truly captures the feel of Lovecraft’s written word, elegance and melancholy.
The writers also change things up for today’s modern times and add a few extra things as well that I felt added more depth to the overall movie which I felt was a good touch though there were a few problem areas. The little love story that kind of took place kind of went into ‘Creep Zone’ for me and I was like why was it even added in and there is some erratic behavior at the end from the land lady that I didn’t quite understand other than they needed a way to end the movie maybe or she was just pissed. Not sure.
Also, the film is obviously shot on a limited budget but I’m not going to be too harsh in this area. Though this will be the main reason many people may dismiss the movie upon first glance. Making movies can be expensive and film makers try to get films made for what they can. With the successful way they handled the well written narration of this movie though the production qualities can be forgiven for the most part though I will address the few issues here. One issue is the audio. There is a definite ‘echo’ feel to the sound in some areas due to production values and at times I couldn’t hear what was being said and the other issue is the CGI that was used. I could tell they did the best they could to blend it in and kudos to them for working well with what they had but it is what it is. A little spotty.
However, don’t let these minor production issues get in your way of watching what really is a pretty solid flick overall at translating a Lovecraft story. I would love to see what could have been done with a little bit more money on the production as I think they would have had a solid home run hitter here with the right backing. If you are a Lovecraft fan you will want to check out ‘Cool Air’ if you are a horror fan or like interesting but strange stories you also need to check out the film as it is a solid effort.