Movie Review: In the Mouth of Madness (1994)

Starring: Sam Neill, Julie Carmen and Jürgen Prochnow

Directed by: John Carpenter

After the sudden disappearance of horror writer Sutter Cane, an insurance investigator (John Trent) is brought in to see whether the vanishing is legitimate or just a publicity stunt to sell more copies of his latest book. Shortly after taking the case he realises the effect Cane’s books are having on its readers and that’s when Trent’s problems truly start.

Following the success of Jurassic Park the year prior, Sam Neill produces another great display of acting in ‘In the Mouth of Madness’, the early ‘90s were a good time to be Sam Neill that’s for sure. He plays John Trent, who at first we see him in a mental institution having visions of creatures coming after him before he starts telling his journey of fear and madness to a doctor. The character change is tremendously pulled off, starting off as a suave and professional investigator who is always extremely sceptical because of the nature of his job, before slowly, through sheer fear starts believing what’s going on around him and becomes increasingly more paranoid as the film progresses. The entire score of the movie is brilliantly used, constantly keeping the atmosphere creepy and surrounded in mystery. As good as the score and the acting were here, I feel what really let this movie down was an anti climatic third act. The first hour or so of film was John Carpenter returning to his horror roots and seemingly being at his very best, the eeriness of it all mixed in with some great scenes of frightening horror. But the conclusion seemed to be at such a slow, dithering pace that it killed a little bit of the momentum gained so wonderfully earlier on.

Overall, In the Mouth of Madness is definitely worth watching for sure as it’s one of the better John Carpenter later pieces of work, just prepare yourself for a bit of an anti-climax.


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