The Movie Waffler New to VOD - OUT OF DARKNESS | The Movie Waffler


A tribe of early humans is preyed upon by an unseen hunter.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Andrew Cumming

Starring: Safia Oakley-Green, Chuku Modu, Kit Young, Iola Evans, Luna Mwezi, Arno Luening

Out of Darkness poster

Andrew Cumming's directorial debut Out of Darkness takes it cues from Quest for Fire and The Clan of the Cave Bear in setting its drama during prehistoric times. And like those movies it features a fictional language created for the film, which is translated for the viewer through subtitles.

At first glance the film appears to tread similar ground to the recent Predator spin-off Prey. That movie saw a Native American tribe battling a technologically superior foe. Here we get a tribe of early humans in Northern Europe trying to survive as some mysterious and seemingly more advanced enemy picks them off.

Out of Darkness review

With the unseen enemy seemingly able to better exploit the darkness than our heroes, the film also shares a commonality with genre pieces like Pitch Black and The Descent.

The movie opens with a camp fire retelling of how our small tribe crossed the water and landed in an unknown landscape they hope to call home. The tribe consists of alpha male leader Adem (Chuku Modu), his pregnant mate Ave (Iola Evans), their son Heron (Luna Mwezi), Adem's younger brother Geirr (Kit Young), tribal elder Odal (Arno Leuning) and Beyah (Safia Oakley-Green), a stray they recently picked up.

Taking a shortcut through a forest proves a bad idea when the tribe is targeted by some unseen menace lurking in the shadows. Cumming wisely refrains from revealing the antagonist until the final act, keeping us guessing as to whether its origins are earthly or alien. We see glimpses of a black figure passing through the trees, though sometimes we might just think we see such a thing, so primed are we to scan the background of cinematographer Ben Fordesman's murky compositions.

Out of Darkness review

Beyah emerges as the key figure, a fur-clad final girl. Considered an outsider by her adopted tribe, she must prove herself as a warrior, much like the young female protagonist of Prey. Along with the unseen foe, Beyah faces a threat from within. Shedding menstrual blood for the first time draws the unwanted attention of Adem, who begins to view her as his next mate. Odal suggests that she be offered as a sacrifice to appease the monster he believes they're being menaced by.

Out of Darkness will likely appeal most to fans of action and horror, but the movie never quite fits into either of those genres. The final act reveal takes the film into more philosophical terrain, and will no doubt prove highly divisive. A lot of viewers will probably feel they've been tricked into watching a rather trite message movie when they had signed on for a survival thriller.

Out of Darkness review

Cumming seems more interested in landing his message than in constructing suspenseful set-pieces. The sort of stalk and slash scenes you might expect from this sort of fare suffer from Cumming's insistence on maintaining the ambiguity of the scenario, with most characters meeting their demise offscreen.

What stands out most is the quality of the performances. Every cast member nails the difficult task of performing in a made up language, convincing us it's an argot they've been speaking for their whole lives. Oakley-Green is a standout, her expressive eyes betraying Beyah's fear even as she tries to present herself as a fierce warrior. The film's final act hints at a progression of our species, but it's the evolution of Oakley-Green from newcomer to movie star over 90 minutes that keeps us invested.

Out of Darkness
 is on UK/ROI VOD now.

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