Warning: This will contain spoilers.
John Carpenter has done some amazing movies. Some of them not as good as others, but when it comes to old school horror and pure atmosphere, Carpenter is the best. “In The Mouth Of Madness” is no exception, and in fact he has really taken it a step further this time.
Sam Neill plays John Trent, an insurance fraud specialist who takes pride in the fact that no con goes above his head because of his keen eye and solid roots in reality. What he doesn’t know then is that all his beliefs about reality will be shaken and turned upside down. The story starts with John Trent and Linda Styles traveling to New Hampshire to find Sutter Cane, a horror novelist who has disappeared with the latest manuscript for his novel. The owner of the publisher sends Cane’s editor (Styles) and Trent off to find a town named Hobb’s End, which is a place in one of Cane’s novels. They drive by car there and when night falls, strange things begin to happen. At one point, they find themselves driving through a small tunnel at night, and end up on the other side in daylight. This is most likely a portal to another realm of reality, maybe an entrance to Cane’s novel, but this is never confirmed.
They end up checking in to a small hotel with a weird old lady behind the desk. After some time they begin to realize that strange things are happening and that they might be in a Sutter Cane novel. One of my favorite things about this movie is how there is always a disbelief for the majority of the movie. You never really know if he’s in a Sutter Cane story or not, and the audience follows the same rationale and doubt that John Trent does. But then the end hits you, and everything you thought you knew is thrown out the window.
Carpenter is great at the visuals, he has a surreal way of directing, and although some think he shows too much of the monsters, I found it suiting. There are many classic horror and science fiction concepts in here, all executed at a masterful degree, and when I came to the end of the movie, I felt there was a lot of mystery, but still a satisfaction given from the ending (not a feat easily achieved.)
A highly recommended movie for any mindfuck movie fan.