Out of the Dark is the partial brainchild of writers/directors Dave and Alex Pastor. If the names sound familiar then in all likelihood you have seen their 2009 apocalyptic feature Carriers with Chris Pine and Emily VanCamp. Another slow paced film that could be seen as a sort of morality tale, which Out of the Dark definitely is, albeit a slow and moody one.
Set in Colombia, Julia Styles (The Omen, Silver Linings Playbook) and Scott Speedman (Underworld, The Strangers) play a husband and wife who travel to South America so she can run her father’s (Stephen Rea) paper company. The young couple and their daughter (Pixie Davies) barely have time to unpack before ghostly events begin to make themselves known.
There are two plot threads running concurrently in this film. An ancient incident that resulted in the fiery deaths of the Colombian village’s children. Conquistadors kidnapped the youngsters and held them for a ransom of silver. After it was paid, they then burnt down the castle where the children were held. Each year a festival commemorating their murder is held where statues of the burnt victims are taken to the local church.
The other incident is not so old. 20 years previously the old paper mill leaked mercury into the river which then killed local children in the most horrible manner. Paul, Sarah and Hannah Harriman (Speedman, Styles and Davies respectively) all move to the village of Santa Clara where Sarah’s father has set up his only daughter to run the family company based in the small town.
Davies, as Hannah, is a brilliant little actress and she is a little natural in front of the camera. This youngster already has eight credits to her name, including Out of the Dark and is in the 2015 television series Humans. This little actress shines in her part and is a delight to watch.
The rest of the actors give solid performances as well. Vanesa Tamayo, in her first feature film, is spot on as the nanny Catalina hired by the Harriman’s to help look after Hannah. The child gets sick after coming into contact with a ghost-child in the dumbwaiter in their new home. When the very solid wraith touches Hannah, something that looks like an insect crawls onto the little girl. She soon develops a rash and temperature. Later in the film, what the “insect” is becomes painfully and tragically clear.
As her parents try to find out what is wrong with their daughter she is kidnapped by ghost children. The remainder of the film is spent with everyone searching for Hannah before she dies. Judging from the comments, and the low score, on IMDb, the film was not well received by many. Obviously the languid pace and the mystery of what was going on did not appeal to those more enamored with slasher films.
There are not many “jump scares” and no gore but the suspense is well handled and the pieces of the film slot into place by the end. There are few things that do not logically pan out and there is one point in the film where Styles’ character suddenly sports a bandage on her hand. When and how the injury occurred is never shown and it is not explained.
Regardless of the odd plot hole the film delivers and does not deserve the low score on IMDb. This low-key horror/mystery film does deliver and it entertains. 3.5 out of 5 stars. Out of the Dark is streaming on US Netflix.
6 June 2015