February 11, 2024
by Carla Hay
Directed by Andrew Cumming
Spoken in the fictional Tola language with subtitles
Culture Representation: Taking place in an unnamed part of Earth in ancient times (45,000 years ago), the horror film “Out of Darkness” features a racially diverse cast of characters who are cave dwellers.
Culture Clash: A group of six nomadic people seeking food and shelter encounter terror in a remote wooded area.
Culture Audience: “Out of Darkness” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in watching a horror movie set in ancient times.
Inspired by William Golding’s 1955 novel “The Inheritors,” the slow-burn thriller “Out of Darkness” is set in ancient, cave-dwelling times. It’s a cautionary tale about how people who fear monsters sometimes fail to see the biggest threats can come from within themselves. The movie excels in creating a foreboding atmosphere, but some viewers might lose interest because of the sluggish pacing in the first half of the film.
Directed by Andrew Cumming and written by Ruth Greenberg, “Out of Darkness” has a relatively small cast in telling this uncomplicated story, which takes place 45,000 years ago in an unnamed part of Earth. (“Out of Darkness” was actually filmed on location in Scotland.) There are six main characters, who are all part of a tribe, and they speak the fictional language of Tola. These tribe members are seeking food and shelter. They are:
- Adem (played by Chuku Modu), the over-confident tribe leader, who is a man in his late 20s.
- Ave (played by Iola Evans), Adem’s pregnant partner.
- Heron (played by Luna Mwezi), Adem and Ave’s son, who’s about 11 or 12 years old.
- Geirr (played by Kit Young), Adem’s trusting younger brother.
- Odal (played by Arno Lüning), an elder advisor.
- Beyah (played by Safia Oakley-Green), a feisty, independent-minded “stray” person who has been “adopted” by this tribe.
In the beginning of the movie, it’s revealed through a story that Odal tells that these six people split off from other members of their tribe because Adem insisted that they go somewhere new to hunt, after their usual place was found to be barren. (People familiar with Judeo-Christian teachings will notice the names of Adem and Ave as being symbolic.) Adem made this decision against the advice of the elders in their tribe. The place near the sea where these six people are also appears to be barren, until they find the remains of animals.
And there’s something else: A mysterious being in the woods seems to be stalking them. The vast majority of “Out of Darkness” shows what happens in these woods. And not everyone makes it out alive. The acting in the movie is very good, but the biggest strength of “Out of Darkness” is its story and how it’s told. It’s a story of survival but it’s also a story of what happens when “the most dangerous animal of all” does in desperate attempts to survive.
Bleecker Street released “Out of Darkness” in U.S. cinemas on October 9, 2024.