Out of the Dark: Creepy Horror Starts Off Strong, Ends Up Delivering Little
Boasting a familiar, but workable, haunted-house setup, Lluis Quilez’s Out of the Dark –written by Javier Gullon and David Poster – comes across as a little bare, featuring only a handful of frights that are still devoid of any real tension, suspense and overall significance.
Out of the Dark tells the story of married couple, Sarah (Stiles) and Paul Harriman (Felicity’s Scott Speedman) who have decided that it’s time for a change of scenery and decide to move from London to the Colombian countryside along with their young daughter, Hannah (Davies). See, Sarah’s father, Jordan (Rea), is the CEO of a successful paper mill and he has offered Sarah the job of a manager, in the hope that she will continue to run the business after he retires.
Not long after their airplane hits the tarmac, the picture perfect family are greeted by Sarah’s father and are soon introduced to their new living quarters; a beautiful and a spacious company-owned estate with a creepy past, of course. Naturally, strange things soon begin to occur – scary noises, bumps in the night, you get the drift – before the Harrimans are introduced to the region’s troubling past where Spanish conquistadors slaughtered local children who are remembered by the locals in an annual religious procession.
Events take a drastic turn when Hannah, whose health has been deteriorating since she arrived, is mysteriously kidnapped, leaving it up to her grief-stricken parents to connect the dots between her abduction and the most recent events that involve the company doctor, Contreras (Furth), and the recent mercury poisoning of children in the area.
Despite having a relatively solid cast, a beautifully captured Colombian backdrop and chillingly moody atmosphere, Out of the Dark still just doesn’t click and while the writers seem to want to offer something a little bit more than your ordinary haunted-house flick by tapping into the eco-political and third-world poverty topics, the pieces of this particular puzzle just never connect naturally.
On the surface, Out of the Dark looks immaculate and the rich-coloured cinematography is probably is by far the film’s biggest success; but its on-the-nose ghost-tale exploits suffer from one too many generic bumps in the night – an aspect of the film that gets a little tiring and repetitive towards the end. In terms of performances, Stiles and Speedman do the best they can with the flat script, while young Pixie Davies is adorable enough to make us care for her wellbeing.
Overall, Out of the Dark is pretty to look at and its unnerving atmosphere carries it for a while. However, its lack of consistency in keeping audiences on the edge of their seats makes Out of the Dark essentially and disappointingly just another unoriginal supernatural melodrama we’ve all seen before.