From the Dark (2014)
Director/Writer – Conor McMahon
Runtime – 90 minutes
Set in County Offaly Ireland.
An old farmer unearths (and in doing so dislodges) a stake, a tomb and something else in his endeavours whilst shifting materials in a sod/peat bog.
A scene that deploys and brnefits from a fantastic use of silence, as opposed to a soundtrack/score.
The teaching of the ‘country wave’, the pros and cons of marriage and a shared disdain over the GPS and it’s monotone “recalculating” in awkward conversation (slathered in lovable accents) on a country roadtrip help introduce the main characters. But it’s their being stuck in mud in the middle of nowheresville which makes them more than relateable. But then they split up (he walks off in search of a house and she stays with the car), breaking one of the cardinal rules of what ‘not-to-do’ in a horror movie and the film takes an ominous turn to make matters worse the day is waning and it’s rapidly turning into night.
Brilliant moments of shadow play early on display the creators genius biding at a feature which may or may not be worthy of praise once it’s through.
The film progresses and our couple find themselves perturbed at the mysterious antics of a resident at a nearby farmstead whom, ironically, they originally went to for help.
He’s there one moment and not the next camera work (which brings to mind classics such as Halloween and Friday the 13th) effectively raises the tension. An ensuing cat and mouse scenario. complete with ingenious antagonist schnanigens, showcases a strong female lead.
Though one might be able to predict where the film might be headed fairly early on the tension is kept at a high and the boundaries of companionship are tested. Seriously would you go back to collect a wounded friend when your path to freedom is brightly burning and clearly ahead not behind? I’m sure the results would be split however as a testiment to her courage our heroine makes a choice, probably against her own better judgement, to make the majority of us appear untrustworthy and shamefully inadequate.The movie progresses and as I’m not one to offer more spoilers than I have to I’ll add that it sports further scenes to cement the fact that the heroine, played by Niamh Algar, is an inventive badass well within her element in the environment she’s found herself in.
The physical effects within the film, thpugh sparse, are throughly unexpected and utterly effective. And although the film is at times highly reminiscent of The Descent it still manages to hold its own thanks to exemplary camera techniques, stylistic approaches to on screen action, a pace that’s commendable, narrative twists and a vibe that’s wholly relateable.
In conclusion Out of the Dark is a great addition to the genre in which it resides (I’ll not spoil it and mention which one) with definite nods to classics and forerunners within it whilst displaying it’s own charm and spirit.
Make this a film in your must watch list, it is rightfully deserved of such.
Your slave to genres most would argue are best left undisturbed though sometimes benefit from an occasional and glorious jolt of adrenaline
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