H.P. Lovecraft's The Old Ones (2023) Cover Photo

H.P. Lovecraft’s The Old Ones is a 2023 splatter/cosmic horror film, written and directed by Chad Ferrin. Known for his over-the-top special effects, Ferrin is the creative mind behind Pig Killer (2022), Night Caller (2021), and Scalper (2023) to name but a few recent releases. The film is an amalgam of the short stories of H.P. Lovecraft and a sequel to Ferrin’s previous film H.P. Lovecraft’s The Deep Ones (2020).

In 1930, sea captain Russel Marsh saw the light, and for 93 years his body was not his own. Inhabited by a Great Old One, he committed unspeakable acts in the name of the Esoteric Order of Dagon. Now free, he is in search of a way to go back in time to reverse the horrors wrought upon the world. But the cult has other plans and will stop at nothing to destroy him.


Unlike almost every story based on the works of Lovecraft, our story doesn’t begin in Boston, Massachusetts. In fact, the entirety of The Old Ones takes place solely in California, rather than on the east coast of the US. However, with a suitable colour correction, the sunshine state looks incredibly bleak and sorrowful rather than the bright yellows that are usually associated.

The plot doesn’t follow any one particular work of Lovecraft, and instead uses elements from The Shadow over Innsmouth, Call of Cthulhu, and even From Beyond—to name a few—and blends them together into one cohesive story. The plot progresses rather aggressively at points, hardly wasting any time while delivering the narrative to the audience at a break-neck pace. Yet, whilst this could cause a story to feel rushed, The Old Ones’ pacing is fitting for its basis where time is of the essence.


Implementing an astonishing level of special effects, The Old Ones does an impressive job of representing these cosmic entities. For example, the deep ones, whilst obviously guys in masks, still have an amazing level of detail to them. The masks themselves are impeccably made, avoiding the campy territory usually associated with such effects. Indeed, all the creatures have a significant Eldridge horror feel to their design, reinforcing the connection to the original works rather than feeling like an unrelated monster movie.

Furthermore, all the practical effects dispense an enjoyably blood-soaked experience, full of a gratuitous amount of gore at times. However, there isn’t an overreliance on this aspect, with only a handful of scenes going all out in a grisly display. This undoubtedly works in the film’s favour, allowing these few scenes to take full effect in their visualisation rather than desensitizing the audience to its usage.


Consisting of a rather varied cast of characters, the performances from everyone involved aid in providing an appropriate level of over-the-top execution that is felicitous for the source material, while simultaneously maintaining a serious tone. Unquestionably, a stand-out performance is delivered by the film’s main star Robert Miano, who, whilst having smaller roles in some of Chad’s recent films, finally gets his time to shine on the centre stage. The rapport between him and his newly-found partner Gideon, played by Benjamin Philip, alludes to a blend of father/son bonding and an uneasy, forced partnership in a dynamic equilibrium of a relationship.

An incredibly kinetic adaptation of the timeless works of Lovecraft, The Old Ones is a delightful mix of several short stories that captures the best qualities of all of them. With a thrilling pace, excellent practical effects, and adequate performances; The Old Ones will certainly entertain those with even a slight interest in cosmic horror and the Cthulhu mythos.

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