OUT OF THE DARK

PrintE-mail Written by Dominic Cuthbert

OUT OF THE DARK

From a superfluous stormy night in 1992 to a modern day South American setting, Lluís Quílez’s debut supernatural chiller needs a lot of forgiveness on the viewer’s part to get anything out of its narrative.

Out of the Dark marks the first foray into English language movie making for Columbian independent production company Dynamo. It sees Sarah Harriman (Stiles) move husband Paul (Speedman) and daughter Hannah (Davies) to Santa Clara, Columbia to take on a managerial role in her father’s paper factory. It isn’t long before the town’s grizzly past blurs into the modern, leaving ghostly echoes in their new house. Together Sarah and Paul discover the dark past of the manufacturing plant and the source of their daughter’s increasing illness.

Most of the cast fail to do much with the lacklustre script, instead just going along for the ride. But the presence of understated character actor Stephen Rea is a highlight; his accent might waver but he delivers a solid performance and helps tie things together. Julia Stiles isn’t given nearly enough to do and ends up taking a backseat while Speedman’s Paul does most of the grubby legwork.

The plot owes a tremendous debt to the supernatural horrors of the ‘70s, with whiffs of The Omen and The Amityville Horror, but also the affecting Spanish chiller The Orphanage. Given the Columbian setting and Spanish/Columbian co-production, it’s a shame that the setting is so visually underused. There’s some interesting shots and adventurous camera work, but it’s been haphazardly strung together.

At very best, Out of the Dark is a cautionary tale on globalisation and the toxic effect of big business. A deeper exploration of this would have helped make for a stronger film, with more of a streamlined sense of horror. It’s a mess, for sure, but there are things that work well within it. It’s a bold idea stuck in a script that plays it very safe and sticks to predictable genre conventions.

Special Features: Featurette

INFO: OUT OF THE DARK / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: LLUIS QUILEZ / SCREENPLAY: JAVIER GULLON, DAVID PASTOR, ALEX PASTOR / STARRING: JULIA STILES, SCOTT SPEEDMAN, STEPHEN REA, PIXIE DAVIES / RELEASE DATE: JUNE 22ND

 

 


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