Out of Darkness Review

Image Source: IMDb.com

Movie: Out of Darkness

Production Company: Escape Plan Productions

Director: Andrew Cumming

Producers: Oliver Kassman, Wendy Griffin

Scriptwriters: Ruth Greenberg, Andrew Cumming, Oliver Kassman

Main Cast: Chuku Modu, Safia Oakley- Green, Kit Young, Iola Evans, Luna Mwezi, Arno Luning

Release Date: 23rd February 2024

Running Time: 82 minutes

Certificate: 15

Introduction: This fleshy and gory prehistoric survival horror thriller is ‘The Revenant’ meets ‘Predator’, and is perhaps the biggest (and the most welcome) surprise I will see this year. It may also be the best survival horror film I have ever seen.

Synopsis: Set in the stone age, a tribe of humans search for a new life and land. When they are suddenly targeted and picked off by an unseen (and unknown) enemy, they face no choice but to confront this danger and themselves.

Analysis: What a staggering surprise this turned out to be. The funniest and most impressive thing here is this is that I did not even know this existed until yesterday (I have seen absolutely no marketing, promotion or reviews about this). The entire reason I came to discover this was thanks to the social media gods looking down on me. There I was, scrolling through my feed, and I come across a quick little advert for a new stone age film. Entirely unaware of what it was, I curiously watched the ad all the way through. Let’s just say, full of excitement, I giddily I booked a ticket as quickly as I could. It was a sign perhaps.

‘Out of Darkness’ is a familiar yet staggeringly well executed little horror that I was hooked to right from the beginning. It takes well known films, tropes and genre conventions and just does it’s own thing, and I could not get enough. It does not reinvent the wheel or anything, but for what it is and does, it’s very solid. There is also quite an important message at the end which was very well communicated. The film has a tight and tidy 82 minute run time which just flew by and does so smoothly. It knows exactly what it wants to do and how. That is all I ask from a film. When it comes to the jumps, scares and violence, I thought these were all handled very well. It won’t affect hardened horror fans very much, but I’d say it gives it a fair shot. To demonstrate this, I jumped twice.

The violence and gore are especially well done. I have not seen a film this primal since Robert Egger’s visceral ‘The Northman’; this strives for that same level of physicality and equals it and also has a similar score to it. One specific moment of remarkably graphic injury detail shocked my quite a bit. Now, hats off to cinematographer Ben Fordesman. The cinematography was genuinely awe inspiring in this. You see mountains with mist descending down from them which was extraordinary. I believe this was shot in the Scottish highlands so there is no surprise there. They have utilized these landscapes to their full potential and have managed to capture real, authentic natural beauties. This looks like a documentary and it’s just a shame I could not see it on a bigger screen.

The film’s score and soundtrack consists of these bellowing rumbles and drums which, since film scores are my favourite form of music, I just sank into. Adam Janota Bzowski has done a magnificent job here and also worked on the music for ‘Femme’ that I also loved. I am certainly on the lookout for his next project. I don’t think I have heard anything this impressive and heart pounding since ‘Blade Runner 2049’ which had a similar style (that is my favourite soundtrack of all time so this has done very well to remind me of that). The cinema’s sound system was very loud which only amplified this and made it all the more effective. It was perfect for me and I loved it. The combination of the imagery and the sound works so well together and is so fitting and appropriate. I haven’t seen a film use sound or orchestrals with it’s visuals this well since ‘Oppenheimer’.

I am afraid to say, however, that since I had no awareness of this film, I have a disappointing suspicion that it will come and go rather quickly. It’s wide release is very small from what I could gather but if you are able to see it, please do. This proved to be my favourite film of the year so far. I was blown away.

In cinemas now.

Overall Rating: 9/10 – Outstanding

Target Audience: 15+

Content Warning: strong threat, violence, injury detail, sexual threat

Recommendation: Yes