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OUT OF DARKNESS

Written By:

Paul Mount
Out of Darkness (Signature Entertainment) (01)

Out of Darkness (originally titled The Origin) has a lineage that dates back to the likes of Quest For Fire and Hammer’s 1960s prehistoric monster fantasies like One Million Years BC and When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth. Out of Darkness is, though, an entirely different and grittier proposition; the Stone Age family here are well acquainted with fire, and mercifully, there’s no sign of immaculately-coiffed cavemen anachronistically fighting off Ray Harryhausen-style dinosaurs.

It’s about 80,000 BC (possibly a Wednesday), and our little group of grunters (they actually speak a usefully subtitled ‘Tola’ language created for the film) – a family unit and a stray they’ve picked up along the way – are searching for a new ‘promised land’ they can call home. We don’t know where they’ve come from and what’s driven them to leave. But when they arrive, they find the land inhospitable and the terrain bare and unwelcoming. “There’s fuck all here,” as one of them apparently says – which seems like an unusually 21st-century response to their environment. They opt not to travel on through a nearby forest for fear of ‘demons’ and suchlike – but when one of their number is snatched in the night by something that emits unholy screeches and shrieks, they’re forced to venture into the darkness to face an enemy that might be unspeakable and unearthly.

Andrew Cumming’s first directorial effort is impressively realised thanks to evocative location filming in some of the wildest wilds of Scotland, evoking a genuinely bleak and gloomy Stone Age world where life is nasty, brutish and short. An unusual and oddly gripping tale with a striking percussive soundtrack by Adam Janota Bzowski, Out of Darkness is something very different carved from the dark, harsh, misty realities of humankind’s distant past. Striking – in every sense.

stars

OUT OF DARKNESS is released in selected UK cinemas on February 23rd.

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