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H. P. Lovecraft’s The Old Ones (2024) Review

Four years ago, Chad Ferrin gave us The Deep Ones, which could be described as The Shadow Over Innsmouth by way of Humanoids From the Deep. Now he’s returned to those waters for a sequel, H. P. Lovecraft’s The Old Ones.

After an animated credits sequence featuring chanting cultists tossing a body into the ocean, the film introduces us to Gideon (Benjamin Philip) and his father Dan (Scott Vogel, Attack in LA, It’s Always Smoggy in L.A.). They’re on a fishing trip, but the boy has caught something quite unexpected, a body that turns out not to be as dead as they thought.

It’s Captain Russel Marsh (Robert Miano, Scalper, Donnie Brasco) who last remembers being stabbed to death and tossed in the ocean. He also claims to have been the captain of The Chase, a 38 footer that sank in 1930 after he saw a mysterious light and became possessed by The Old Ones.

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Needless to say, they don’t believe him, until a creature attacks and kills Dan. This leaves Gideon with little choice but to help Marsh with his plan to bend time and undo his past actions, a byproduct of which would be the attack on Dan would never have happened. But, like any ancient deities, The Old Ones have plenty of disciples hidden among the population. And they’ll do anything to stop them from changing the past.

Despite adding Lovecraft’s name to the title, Ferrin doesn’t stay any closer to the author’s works this time around. H. P. Lovecraft’s The Old Ones uses a collection of theme’s idea and characters, or at least their names, from many of his works and blends them together.

For example, From Beyond’s Crawford Tillinghast (Elli Rahn, Fight of the Living Dead, Antidote) and the Resonator are the key to his plans to go back in time, but he has to cut a deal with Nyarlathotep (Rico E. Anderson, It’s the Masque of the Polychrome Death, Eddie Poe!, The 5th Passenger) to find him. Randolph Carter (Timothy Muskatell, Deadgirl, Dead by Dawn) is another name that should be familiar to fans of Lovecraft’s work.

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And despite being a distinctly low budget film, Ferrin populates H. P. Lovecraft’s The Old Ones with several monsters, ranging from actor in a mask fishmen and ghasts to the tentacled Shoggoth that attacks Marsh in a bathroom stall. The effects by Joe Castro (The Beast Comes at Midnight, Hunting for Herschell) lean towards practical, with some CGI mixed in, mostly during the climax. The distorted voice used for the possessed on the other hand tends to get annoying after a while.

If you haven’t seen The Deep Ones, you’ll still be able to enjoy The Old Ones. There’s only one brief reference to specific events of that film, how Marsh ended up in the ocean, and apart from him only one other character, Ambrose Zadok (Kelli Maroney, Night of the Comet, Exorcism at 60,000 Feet) makes a brief appearance near the beginning. That said, if you haven’t seen it you should because it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

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And while it’s not as outrageously entertaining as that film, H. P. Lovecraft’s The Old Ones is still an enjoyable film in its own right. It takes its subject matter a bit more seriously, but never too seriously, with a fair amount of dark humour mixed in. And given the source material, that’s probably the best way to handle Lovecraft’s writing.

Currently in post-production for Unspeakable: Beyond the Wall of Sleep, Ferrin seems to be developing his own take on Lovecraft’s cosmic horrors. It will be interesting to see where he goes with it.

H. P. Lovecraft’s The Old Ones is available on Digital Platforms from Breaking Glass Pictures.

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