Out of Darkness

Out of Darkness Movie Review

“Out of Darkness” is a ‘Paleolithic horror film’, according to the Director. The story is about the journey of a small ‘tribe’ of Stone Age wanderers, venturing far into an unknown territory. Little do they know of the dangers that lurk there in their new home. They may have well stumbled into a place where there is no return, into a land that is fraught with danger.


The time is 45,000 years ago, in a far away place. A small ship is crossing a large body of water. When a small group of travelers comes onto the shore, they feel they have reached a ‘promised land’. The leader of this band is named Adem (played by Chuku Modu). It is his stubborn idea that brought all of them here. They broke off from others in their tribe to venture out on their own to this land Adem heard about in stories.


Adem has his wife, Ave (played by Iola Evans) — who is pregnant, and his son Heron (played by Luna Mwezi). He has also brought along his younger brother named Geirr (played by Kit Young). They also have an older ‘wise man’ named Odal (played by Arno Luening). He has knowledge and wisdom, and can help to guide this group.


There is one other person tagging along. It is a young woman named Bayah (played by Safia Oakley-Green). She is generally considered a ‘stray’, which means she is there to do whatever the others in the group need her to do. She is the lowest on the totem pole of the group. She is no relation to anyone in the ‘tribe’, and was brought along just to be a worker bee.


The group expects that there will be untold wealth in the land. This is supposed to be good earth in which to plant and gather grain. There will be great grassy plains in which to hunt. There will be nearby rolling hills, with caves to give them shelter. When they get over the sandy ridge to the other side, they see — well, nothing like that at all. It looks bleak and barren. The closest mountains are three days walk away.


Adem is his stubborn self, refusing to listen to the others. Geirr think this place will hold nothing for them. Odal says that Adem has led them to a new place where they will all die of starvation and exposure to the elements. Adem should have stayed with members of his tribe back in the place where they came from. Adem will hear none of this – he is the leader, so it is up to him to lead.


After a day or two of walking to the far off hills, they come upon a thick forest. Adem takes Geirr on a trip to find a way around the unavoidable obstacle. Attempting to pass through that tangle of branches and underbrush would add days to the trip. Geirr says that trying to find a way around it will also take too much time. Ave, along with the others has not eaten anything for days. But it is hard on her and unborn baby…


This group can only sleep out on the high, open plains. They are surrounded by total pitch black darkness. There are constant noises that do not sound good. Something swishes by in the inky blackness, and noboby can see it or knows what it is.  Then, at the tiny campfire, something reaches out and snatches the young boy – Heron. Adem is in a panic and wants to chase after whatever that was. Odal and Geirr convince him to wait until daylight.


The tracks lead into the forest, with a darkness and foreboding that makes up the treeline. Adem is single-minded — there is only one thing for him to do. He will lead the group into the primordial woods to hunt for his son and kill the creature that stole him away. Everyone has to go with Adem. But Ave is so tired that she cannot go any further into the forest. So Adem forges on ahead while the sun is about to go down again. Adem returns empty-handed.


The group is in the darkness of the woods, with just a small fire to keep them warm. The noises and swishing sounds are all round them again during the night. Adem can take no more. This creature must die! He goes out into the hidden dark of the murky trees after the thing. More sounds and noises, and then silence. But a scream cries out and pierces the night.


The story of hunt continues, in which the hunters have now become the hunted. ‘Something wicked this way comes’, or so they say. There are conflicts and confrontations with unknown beings. Some of the squad will die. But since the remaining ones have not eaten anything for days they will go all ‘Society of the Snow’ on the body. While in the woods, more death comes a-knocking. There are betrayals and new contacts with the creatures of the night.


Bayah becomes a ‘stray’ who has within her the power of a leader and warrior. Sometimes older wise men who say they know the right thing to do are really just scared of the dark. Geirr is afraid of this new turn of events, and does not know how to handle the changes in the situation. But if they can just follow that shadow of a creature into that cave, perhaps they can find something surprising…


“Out of Darkness” does a lot with a barest of details, and keeps the mood as dark as the lack of light from the screen. The setting, back in ‘cave man’ days is pretty unique for a ‘horror’ story. But it does this is an admirable fashion. The folks behind this movie have even created a fictional language, Tola, for the aboriginal people to speak. There are subtitles in English.


The setting is as primitive as it can be. The acting is naturalistic, which sells the realness of the movie. The sound design, especially of the unknown creatures, is done very well. The scenes and natural landscapes are gorgeous on the screen. That is, when there is a little bit of light…


That is the most difficult part of this movie. It might be better called “Mostly in Darkness”. Every scene is dark and gloomy, and pretty difficult to see.  This draws back some of the specialness of this production. It makes sense to show it dark, when there is no artificial light. But it makes hard to know what is going on. Also, the ending leaves a little bit to be desired. It turned out a little too much like the movie ‘The Village’.


“Out of Darkness” is quite a unique movie. It does its best to create a ‘horror’ movie situation in a small group of people living 45,000 years ago. It stays in the dark for too long a time, and the ending should be as good as the rest of the movie.


Opening Feb. 9th – and playing at these theaters in the Phoenix area:

Christown 14

Park West 14

Harkins Arrowhead Fountains 18

Tempe Marketplace 16

Arizona Mills 18 + IMAX Theatre

Harkins Chandler Fashion Center 20

San Tan Village 16

Flagstaff 16

Gateway Pavillions 18

Out of Darkness

Directed by: Andrew Cumming
Screenplay by: Ruth Greenberg
Starring: Safia Oakley-Green, Chuku Modu, Kit Young
Cinematography: Ben Fordesman
Edited by: Paolo Pandolpho
Music by: Adam Janota Bzowski
Distributed by: Signature Entertainment
Release date: February 9, 2024
Length: 87 minutes
MPAA rating: R for violence and some grisly images
Genre: Horror



tmc.io contributor: JMcNaughton tmc

I think movies need to be shared and enjoyed by as many people as possible! Going to a movie theater is a group experience, even if you go in there alone. When the lights go dark and movie begins, you can participate in a special kind of magic. You can be entertained, or enlightened. But you are never bored. Or at least, let's hope not. Try reading the reviews first.. maybe that will help!

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