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Movie Review: 'Out of Darkness'

The Paleolithic Era is the setting for a terrific monster movie in 'Out of Darkness.'

By Sean PatrickPublished 22 days ago 4 min read
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Out of Darkness (2024)

Directed by Andrew Cumming

Written by Ruth Greenberg

Starring Safia Oakley-Green, Kit Young

Release Date February 9th, 2024

Published February 9th, 2024

Out of Darkness follows a small tribe of people in the Paleolithic era as they flee from fighting and oppression. The leader of the tribe is Adem (Choku Modu), a hard man who leads with fierce, muscular pride. With Adem is his pregnant wife, Ave (Iola Evans), and his beloved son, Heron (Luna Mwezi). Adem's younger brother Geirr (Kit Young), is green and still learning to hunt while also having to carry a leadership role under his brother.

Not all of the tribe are family however. Odal (Arno Leudig) is an older man, valued more for his experience and wisdom than for contributing to the small tribe as a hunter. But the true outcast, outsider, of the group is Beyah (Safia Oakley-Green). Beyah is quite young but also quite headstrong and tough. She knows that she has to protect herself as Adem makes clear, he will protect his family first while Beyah and Odal fend for themselves.

And don't think for a moment that this bonds Odal and Beyah. As the story of Out of Darkness progresses into a monster movie about an unseen beast from the nearby woods that stalks the tribe, Odal shows no compunction about offering up Beyah as a potential sacrifice in hopes of appeasing their vicious stalker. The tension between Odal and Beyah only grows as members of the tribe get picked off, seemingly killed, though the monster's actual motives remain a little mysterious.

Out of Darkness uses its ancient setting incredibly well. The darkness, the scenes lit only by a flickering fire, and the sounds of the forest providing an ominous soundtrack. It's simple, but it's effective. Director Andrew Cumming shows a knack for exploiting the darkness to underscore the darkening natures of his characters. The subtitled dialogue illustrates the challenge of what this small band of people have survived and the struggles they now face.

The group has no regular source of food. They have little shelter from the elements. They were promised a bounty when they left the mainland. They expected to find a place that was rich with land to grow crops and caves for shelters. What they found was barren ground, cold, dry conditions, and few animals for hunting. That last aspect has everything to do with the big bad of the movie, a fleet-footed and terrifyingly strong monster and hunter.

Safia Oakley-Green is the standout of Out of Darkness. Green's ferocious self-protection, crossed with a fearful vulnerability, kindles the fiery drama between herself and the rest of the tribe. She's done nothing wrong but, she's a stray, not an original member of the tribe. They took pity on her as a young woman in the wild alone and now, as things grow more and more desperate, her status as an outsider is a painful test of the loyalty of the tribe. Oakley-Green's expressive physicality does as much as any dialogue to communicate the fearsome emotions in play.

Safia Oakley-Green

Out of Darkness is moody and atmospheric horror and builds its tension and suspense at a quick pace, the film is only 87 minutes in all. The final act then becomes a sprint as the remaining characters navigate their loyalty to each other versus their desire to survive against this unknown, unceasing enemy. At least, that's what they think. I won't spoil what is at hand in the final act, it's not necessarily a surprise or a twist. Rather, it's a building sense of tragedy for all involved and it's highly compelling. For the record, this is not another Predator prequel. It carries similarities to the movie Prey, but they are not related.

Out of Darkness opens in theaters nationwide on February 9th, 2024.

Find my archive of more than 20 years and nearly 2000 movie reviews at SeanattheMovies.blogspot.com. Find my modern review archive on my Vocal Profile, linked here. Follow me on Twitter at PodcastSean. Follow the archive blog on Twitter at SeanattheMovies. Listen to me talk about movies on the I Hate Critics Movie Review Podcast, wherever you listen to podcasts. If you have enjoyed what you have read, consider subscribing to my writing on Vocal. If you'd like to support my writing, you can do so by making a monthly pledge or by leaving a one-time tip. Thanks!

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About the Creator

Sean Patrick

Hello, my name is Sean Patrick He/Him, and I am a film critic and podcast host for the I Hate Critics Movie Review Podcast I am a voting member of the Critics Choice Association, the group behind the annual Critics Choice Awards.

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