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'OUT OF DARKNESS (2024)' REVIEW

BY BECCA JOHNSON FEBRUARY 6, 2024
Out of Darkness

Previously titled The Origin, Out of Darkness is the directorial feature debut from Andrew Cumming. Set in the Stone Age, Out of Darkness creatively invents it's own language, TOLA – this stands for 'The Origin Language', and is a mix of Arabic and Basque vocabulary. It sends it's gang of characters on a tense fight for survival, forcing them to confront their worst fears and testing the group to see who will step up and fight for their family. Well acted, gorgeously shot and using clever horror tactics to keep things exciting, Out of Darkness is a superbly crafted horror flick that may not stick the landing for all, but definitely impresses on it's way there.


SYNOPSIS

In the Old Stone Age, a disparate gang of early humans band together in search of a new land. But when they suspect a malevolent, mystical being is hunting them down, the clan are forced to confront a danger they never envisaged.



REVIEW

A smaller budget flick, Out of Darkness proves that even a simple storyline can be incredibly effective. Clocking in at just 87 minutes, it shows a group of people being hunted by something potentially demonic – though this may sound basic, simple and like something we've seen before on the surface, it's quite the opposite. By utilising it's fantastic invented language, well-written dialogue and tension building tactics, the story stays consistently engaging and exciting throughout. It moves along at a reasonably fast pace, and despite having plenty of scenes without action or horror, the quiet moments with the characters are a lot of fun. The script develops it's characters well, letting us delve into each one and get to know them; what makes them tick, what they're afraid of and most importantly, whether they're likely to stand and fight or shy away. It manages to explore some interesting themes within it's dialogue, going into quite a lot of depth with some of it's ideas. It's a well thought out piece of film, and it's superbly written.


Out of Darkness

Out of Darkness thoroughly pays attention to it's surroundings, allowing the landscape to tell much of the story and becoming so prominent it often feels like it's own character. The forest location is simply beautiful in itself, but the film is also clever in it's camerawork. As the title suggests, it plays around with the use of darkness, creating something hauntingly stunning as our characters faces are all we can see against the all-encompassing darkness. It's campfire scenes are where the visuals really shine, the orange flickering light dancing against the pitch black to create an immersive experience. The costuming, hair and make-up all feels very of it's time, making it a visual treat all together.


Out of Darkness is first and foremost a survival thriller. It places it's characters in a remote location, gives them a villain to hide from and uses tension-building techniques to increase the stakes as the run-time progresses. However, it also tidily fits into the horror genre, and is a fun addition to the historical horror sub-genre that we certainly need more entries into. There are plenty of kills, and they get gorier as the run-time progresses; it certainly doesn't shy away from it's violence. It uses it's looming darkness and remote landscape to create a feeling of isolation, and the setting seems to extend for miles with not very many places to hide. Despite all this, it's best attribute is the careful use of it's villain – not only does it refrain from showing us until the final act, but it uses it sparingly. The design of said villain is fantastic, and the fact we don't get to see it in all it's glory very often keeps things frightening, and adds a layer of mystery that keeps us invested. Horror fans will be happy with it's understanding of what makes the genre work so well.


Out of Darkness

With it's simplistic story-line and questionable ending and reveal, Out of Darkness won't be for everyone. Some viewers may find things a touch too slow if they're looking for something a little more action-packed, and it's focus on it's visuals and sound may leave some a little cold in terms of the story. However, Out of Darkness shows fantastic film-making in it's cinematography, sound design, horror aspects and score. The gimmick of the made-up language works a treat, and it feels believable and of it's time throughout. It's original, it's different and it puts director Andrew Cumming on the map as one to watch.


STAR RATING

Rating Out of Darkness

OUT OF DARKNESS releases in theatres February 9

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