Necronomicon ★★★½

Yuzna/Combs/Lovecraft portmanteau. 

The Yuzna directed wraparound ‘The Library’ features Combs as Lovecraft himself - here almost an Ash Williams looking, Indiana Jones type adventurer - reading the necronomicon. Guarded by a sinister order of monks, the evil book shows Lovecraft three stories of occult magic, mad science, and ancient monsters and cults, before it comes for Lovecraft himself. 

The first, Christophe Gans’ ‘The Drowned’, is perhaps the most rounded. Certainly, it is the one you will invest the most emotionally in, due to the strength of the performances, mainly from Bruce Payne’s De Loeper, still distraught and in mourning over the death of his wife years before. 

Shusuke Kaneko’s ‘The Cold’ features the always reliable David Warner but suffers from an obvious twist. 

The third, Yuzna’s ‘Whispers’ is the most unrestrained of the three, tonally similar to his wraparound segment. There’s a few twists here too in the short runtime, but they end up a bit muddled. 

It doesn’t quite come together as well as it should. The tales, whilst technically fine and conveying effective dark nihilism, feel slight - particularly the second two. The Cold and The Drowned also suffer from being partly made up of elongated flashbacks in what are already segments of a portmanteau. It’s a weird narrative choice that robs them of immediacy and investment. 
However, the practical effects - overseen by Tom Savini - are excellent. Gruesome and grotesque body horror that any fan of Yuzna will delight in, and it’s always fun to see Combs and Yuzna return so gleefully to the Lovecraftian well.

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