‘Prey for the children’
Out of the Dark is a 2014 English-language Spanish-Colombian supernatural horror film directed by Lluís Quílez based on a screenplay by Alex Pastor, David Pastor, and Javier Gullón.
The film stars Julia Stiles (The Omen; Wicked), Scott Speedman (The Monster; The Moth Diaries; The Strangers), Stephen Rea (Asylum; Werewolf: The Beast Among Us; Underworld: Awakening) and Pixie Davies. The Colombian/Spanish title is Aguas rojas (“Red Water”).
In 1992, Doctor Contreras Sr. (Elkin Díaz) prepares to abandon a finca in Santa Clara, Colombia. On the second floor, he is chased by a group of children, falling to his death impaled on a spike when he is pushed from the balcony.
Twenty years later, Sara (Julia Stiles) and Paul (Scott Speedman) move from the UK to Santa Clara with their daughter, Hannah. Sara is to be the new manager at a paper mill that her father Jordan (Stephen Rea) owns. They move into the finca, which is owned by the company, and adore it. However, Hannah is frightened by the open dumbwaiter in the wall of her room…
” …a handsome enough package that makes decent use of locations. The lead actors are solid as usual, but you can feel them all knocking their heads against the low ceiling of material that’s afraid to take any risks — playing it so safe that the film ends up lacking anything in the way of real personality, scares or plot surprises.” Dennis Harvey, Variety
“The film does have something to say about hubris and how conquistadors (in this case white people) feel the need to civilize local populations (whether they want to be or not). Like most of the story, this message is delivered in a foreseeable way, hitting beats that harken back to films like The Devil’s Backbone and The Orphanage.” Patrick Cooper, Bloody Disgusting
“Stylishly filmed and often scary, Out of the Dark unspools a conclusion as conventional and button-down as a wide tie knot and a pair of wingtips.” Chris Packham, The Village Voice
“From its generic title to its familiar child in distress storyline to its hackneyed depiction of things going bump in the night, Out of the Dark is thoroughly forgettable. But at least everyone involved got a nice trip out of it.” Franck Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter
” …director Lluís Quílez is too in love with Isaac Vila’s rich location cinematography to make the tale meaningful or suspenseful. In hurrying to hammer home its point about big business and threatened environments, Out of the Dark forgets to be interesting.” Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times
“The sweat of three writers and the acting chops of Stephen Rea still don’t come close to earning Out of the Dark a passing grade. Derivative and devoid of tension, this stagey first feature from the Spanish director Lluís Quílez mystifies solely on account of its R rating.” Jeanette Catsoulis, The New York Times
“For a feature that pushes 90-plus minutes, there are more than just a few slogging scenes, unfortunately with little or no reward at the end, and performance wise, the three-headed dragon consisting of Stiles, Speedman and Rea limps harmlessly through the film with little Pixie providing the early chops to outshine them all.” Matt Boiselle, Dread Central
“The scares are nothing to write home about. pretty standard stuff for any haunted house film. Spooky sounds, a scary dumbwaiter, shadows, and creepy diseased kids popping up behind the main actors. What the film delivers is a solid haunting with great acting, probably better than it deserved, and Hollywood level production values.” Che Gilson, UK Horror Scene
Main cast and characters:
- Julia Stiles as Sarah Harriman
- Scott Speedman as Paul Harriman
- Stephen Rea as Jordan
- Pixie Davies as Hannah Harriman
- Alejandro Furth as Dr. Andres Contreras, Jr.
- Guillermo Morales Vitola
Principal filming took place in Colombia between April 2013 and July 2013, followed by post-production. The film premiered at Germany’s Fantasy Filmfest on August 27, 2014.
Honda, Tolima, Colombia