If there’s one word that summarizes the main focus of early man’s life, it’s undoubtedly “survive”. In the gripping Cro-Magnon monster movie Out Of Darkness, directed by Andrew Cumming and penned by Ruth Greenberg, viewers are transported back to a time when humanity was in its infancy, 45,000 years ago. The film boasts a talented ensemble, including Safia Oakley-Green, Kit Young, Chuku Modu, Iola Evans, Arno Lüning, and Luna Mwezi, who find themselves on the brink of existence in a world where every day is a fight for survival.
The storyline unfolds as a small band of early humans arrive on the edge of a stark and unwelcoming land, their journey across a treacherous sea driven by the desperate need for a new beginning. Starvation nips at their heels as they traverse the cold, unforgiving tundra, aiming for the mountains that loom in the distance, hopeful of finding the caves that could offer them shelter. Yet, as darkness descends, their newfound hope is quickly replaced by an insidious dread. It becomes clear that the shadows hide more than just the night, and they are far from alone.
“Whatever the opposite of sugar and spice and everything is, that’s exactly what this monster is made of. “
One of the film’s standout features is its use of a constructed language, TOLA, devised by poet & historian Dr. Daniel Andersson. TOLA, standing for ‘The Origin Language,’ a blend of Arabic and Basque elements, which lends an authentic texture to the narrative, demanding remarkable linguistic and physical performances from the cast. Their performances are as physical as they are verbal and every emotion from fear to remorse is broadcast at 100,000 watts across every face.
Drawing parallels with the suspenseful technique employed by Steven Spielberg in Jaws (1975), Out Of Darkness (for better or worse) utilizes the unseen as the ultimate source of terror. The creature, lurking just beyond the veil of visibility, serves not only as a source of horror but as a catalyst for the unraveling of the group’s social fabric. The film delves deep into the primal essence of fear, illustrating its power to strip humanity down to its most base instincts, mirroring the savagery of our ancient predecessors with a disturbing reflection on modern society.
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The monster itself is the stuff of nightmares, like a hulking chimera of quills and bones, muscle. Whatever the opposite of sugar and spice and everything is, that’s exactly what this monster is made of. When it attacks, people aren’t just wounded. They are d e s t r o y e d. It’s easy to see life as tenuous and fragile when faced with an unforgiving landscape and harsh conditions, but nothing reminds you of your own mortality quite like seeing a person pulled apart like gory playdoh.
However, despite its strengths, Out Of Darkness is not without its flaws. The reliance on the unseen monster trope, while effective, may feel familiar to seasoned horror enthusiasts, and the film’s pacing occasionally stumbles in its quest to balance character development with its broader thematic ambitions. Nonetheless, the innovative use of language and the raw intensity of the performances elevate this tale of survival and human nature.
“…nothing reminds you of your own mortality quite like seeing a person pulled apart like gory playdoh.“
Out Of Darkness is a film that not only horrifies but also provokes thought about the essence of fear and its impact on humanity, both past and present. While it might not redefine the genre, it’s a worthy addition to the pantheon of survival horror films, offering a unique glimpse into the dawn of man and the darkness that lies both without and within.
Andrew Cumming’s Out Of Darkness has crept into theatres now! Let us know what you thought of this Survival Horror set at the Dawn of Man in the official Nightmare on Film Street Discord, and how long you think you’d last up against a prehistoric monster with nothing but a stick and a rock…
[Review] Cro-Magnon Monster Movie OUT OF DARKNESS Reminds Us That Fear is Forever
Out Of Darkness is a film that not only horrifies but also provokes thought about the essence of fear and its impact on humanity, both past and present. While it might not redefine the genre, it's a worthy addition to the pantheon of survival horror films.