The film features a familiar haunted house premise, but it adds a fascinating locale, quality actors and a sense that the story isn’t just cheap scares stitched together in Frankenstein fashion.
So why is “Out of the Dark” so dispiriting?
Julia Stiles and Scott Speedman star as a couple who bring their daughter to a lush Columbian town to visit the child’s grandfather (Stephen Rea). Pop Pop runs a lucrative paper company, and he wants Stiles’ character to join the family business.
The couple couldn’t be happier until young Hannah (Pixie Davies) goes missing one murky night. Has their daughter been kidnapped by locals, or does the town’s twisted past have something to do with her disappearance?
The film’s prologue helps answer that question. Once more a gaggle of creepy kids is trotted out to scare us silly, but the lads have little help. The spare special effects aren’t the problem. It’s how the bland story line drags in one of film’s most reliable bogeymen that squanders some of the film’s potential.
It’s not Freddy, Jason or Michael Myers. Hint: It rhymes with Shmorporation.
“Out of the Dark” offers a sophisticated sheen, the kind too many low-budget shockers lack. But it’s also dour just when it should be electrifying. There’s little here to challenge Speedman or Stiles, and even the secondary characters lack vitality.
So we’re left with some modest scares given a boost from the setting.
“Out of the Dark” struggles to make sense of its otherworldly trappings, but by the final reel you’ll be begging for some controlled chaos to give “Dark” a kick in the pants.
DID YOU KNOW: Julia Stiles learned to act partially via her TV set. Biography.com says she would act out all the main parts on “The Honeymooners” as a child, her impromptu acting school.