Out of the Dark, isn’t a film that breaks any new ground”

by Nav Qateel

A young mother, Sarah (Julie Stiles), husband Paul (Scott Speedman) and daughter Hannah (Pixie Davies), are invited to help at the family-run Columbian paper mill by Sarah’s father Jordan (Stephen Rea). It’s not long before the family realise the house is haunted and Hannah seems to be the center of attention for the young spirits that haunt the house. After Hannah becomes ill and starts showing mysterious symptoms just before she vanishes, dark family secrets begin to be uncovered and the hunt is on to find young Hannah.

The nondescript, threadbare Out of the Dark, isn’t a film that breaks any new ground, falling back on a hackneyed children’s ghost story penned by the likes of Javier Gullón–who quite brilliantly and only last year, turned José Saramago’s novel into a screenplay in the Jake Gyllenhaal starrer Enemy–with Àlex Pastor and David Pastor of Carriers fame, completing the trio of writers. With this talent alone, one would have expected the odd scare here and there. But, for whatever reason, frightening the audience just didn’t appear to be on the agenda.

Out of the Dark
Directed by
Lluís Quílez
Julia Stiles, Scott Speedman, Stephen Rea, Pixie Davies, Alejandro Furth
Release Date
27 February 2015
Nav’s Grade: C

The cast were also rather mismatched, with Sarah never really feeling like Jordan’s daughter, or Paul and Sarah’s chemistry never feeling anything more than a temp measure for their 90 minutes of screentime. At least the ghost children had interesting backstories, not unlike that of their similarly styled Japanese counterparts. And the effects, as simple as they were, at least had some sort of originality going for them, even if it was a rather meager attempt.

On the plus side, we did have the beauty of Bogota, Colombia to soak up as the backdrop for this tepid scarer, and during the nighttime chases through the Columbian alleys and narrow walkways, it helped take our mind from the fact that we were not in the least bit frightened.

Out of the Dark fought hard for traction from beginning to end, rarely finding any as it tried very hard to sell us a product that’s been done so much better many times before. The names attached to Out of the Dark should have been a mark of quality, but instead, left us feeling like we’d just been sold something vastly inferior.

Individually, the cast does some splendid work but it’s the supposed relationships that are the main problem, leaving Scott Speedman feeling like a fifth wheel. Sadly, if the scenery were subtracted from this film, we’d be left with next to nothing to admire. Out of the Dark just doesn’t have enough left to recommend, which is a real pity.