The Old Ones: Aquatic Lovecraftian horror

The Old Ones - Courtesy Breaking Glass Pictures
The Old Ones - Courtesy Breaking Glass Pictures /

Writer/director Chad Ferrin isn't a stranger to H.P. Lovecraft's cosmic horror. His 2020 film The Deep Ones tackled the famed horror author's world. His latest feature, The Old Ones, is a surprisingly fresh take on Lovecraft that uses the Great Old Ones, a group of ancient and sinister beings that are part of the larger Cthulhu mythology, to tell a broader and often entertaining story.

The film follows the strange and surreal story of Captain Russel Marsh (Robert Miano). The captain has been missing for 93 years after seeing a light and suffering possession at the hands of the Old Ones. His body washes up on a shore, discovered by a father (Scott Vogel) and his son Gideon (Benjamin Philip). Whatever the captain encountered starts to threaten Earth. More specifically, various sea monsters and otherworldly creatures try to stop Marsh, who wants to take down the Old Ones once and for all.

The Old Ones
The Old Ones - Courtesy Breaking Glass Pictures /

While this is certainly a B movie, there are plenty of positives here. The relationship between Marsh and Gideon feels especially endearing. Gideon is forced to tag along on the life-threatening adventures because one of the creatures kills his dad within the first five minutes. The captain promises that if they succeed, he can bend dimensions and go back in time to reverse everything, thus saving Gideon's father. It makes for a compelling story arc with high stakes. The interactions between Gideon and Marsh are some of the tightest moments in the film, just generally well-written.

This premise creates a cool set-up that leads to rich character development, and this is a credit to Ferrin's writing. While he uses the fundamentals of Lovecraft's world, he employs a contemporary setting with some new characters we actually care about. This is no easy task, considering Lovecraft has been adapted for film so many times, including over the last few years with Color Out of Space, Suitable Flesh, among others. Yet, Ferrin made a smart choice by pulling characters and creatures from a few different Lovecraft stories, while writing his own. It makes the film feel inventive and salvages some of the B movie qualities.

The Old Ones 2
The Old Ones - Courtesy Breaking Glass Pictures /

In terms of special effects, some of them look decent, especially one of the tentacle beasts near the halfway point. Some of the monsters, however, are little more than people in rubber masks. Even this has an oddly endearing quality to it. Parts of this movie feel like something you'd see on the Syfy Channel in the late 90s or early 2000s. Meanwhile, horror fans will likely recognize Kelli Maroney (Chopping Mall, Night of the Comet), who has a smaller role as one of the monsters and has appeared in several of Ferrin's other films, including The Deep Ones.

While the budget certainly restrained aspects of The Old Ones, the film has plenty of heart. Ferrin's respect and knowledge of Lovecraft is fully on display here. He also injects original characters into a well-used world, offering a much-needed unique take on Lovecraft. For that alone, this film deserves kudos. The Old Ones arrives on digital platforms March 19.

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