Excellent read, @peacedog. I didn’t quite know what to make of Stanley focusing on Ward smoking and then flicking the butt into the lake, but that’s perfect. Thanks for posting that.
I think I was too focused on the voiceover, which I adore, and the Ward Phillips actor, who I thought was really good. He had to go from inconsequential surveyor to puzzled scientist to heroic rescuer to sanity-blasted witness to numbed survivor, and he hit all those notes without ringing false at any point along the way, and with relatively little screen time. Dude’s a Brit, wouldn’t you know?
Ooh, that must have been a great discussion. I like your “coming of age” take on Lavinia.
The argument for Nathan as the protagonist is certainly fair. He’s the nexus of the connection to the Gardner patriarch, who looms large in the background. The house belonged to the Gardner grandfather, and presumably Nathan escaped at some point, but has returned to “reclaim” it from his father. Who will gradually “reclaim” Nathan over the course of the movie. Posses him, actually. Is the Gardner grandfather somehow related to the centuries-old evil in those hills and vales? It’s also worth nothing that the two oldest Gardner children carry tokens from the grandfather. Lavinia’s compass, which Ward ends up with. And Benny’s goggles, which he dons just as the color is swallowing him up. Stanley leaves all this in the background behind the freaky alien stuff, but it’s definitely there, and it all flows through Nathan.