In the Mouth of Madness

An investigator discovers the strange impact a horror writer's books have on his readers.

 

United States
1994
Feature Film
Realism: 
Supernatural
Character Focus: 
Wizard Film
Otherness Film
Professional Film
Cultist Film
Animals: 
Dog
Cultists: 
Guru
Worshipper
Trickster: 
Impostor
Lurer
Catastrophes: 
Crash
Dimensional: 
Nightmare
Unknown
Object: 
Book
Painting
Psychics: 
Illusionist
Hypnotist
Telepathist
Wizards: 
Possessor
Conjurer
Transmuter
7.04
You'll swallow this whole!
8
6
7.04
7.04
4
3
4
Effects
Dialogue
Ambiance
This is one of John Carpenter’s darkest, most maniacal and most demented films. You can tell he was fully invested. Michael De Luca, screenwriter, comes up with a tale so deep and layered it feels like a novel adaptation. This is a complex story, yes, but never at the expense of clarity. It’s a mindfuck. It’s anachronic. It’s ominous. What’s more, the threat exists before the story even begins.
One of the reasons this movie works so well is that it’s told on two levels. First, there's a procedural that is, in appearance, logical and concrete. Intertwined are terrifying hallucinations that only slow the hero down. If these elements didn’t culminate, this film would fail. Trust the makers. It all pays off. This recipe creates some of the creepiest moments in horror cinema history.
Horror, fantasy and adventure rarely blend so well. This is one of the few exceptions. Nothing in this film feels stereotyped. The jump scares aren’t abusive. The ambiance is thick. Though the actors give it all they have, the weakest link, here, is character exposition. The characters are cold, impersonal, conflictual. But they are at the image of their new world; one inspired by Lovecraft.
Alternate Titles: 
John Carpenter's In the Mouth of Madness
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