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OUT OF THE SHADOWS (2017)
Directed by Dee McLachlan
Written by Dee McLachlan, Eric C. Nash, Rena Owen
Starring Kendal Rae, Blake Northfield, Jake Ryan, Lisa Chappell, Helmut Bakaitis, Jim Robison, Milan Pulvermacher, Anna Demidova, Madison Haley, Veronica Sywak, Fiona Press, Miyuki Lotz, Barbara Hastings, Mahto Von Schlippe, & Goran D. Kleut as Baal!
This is the umpteenth review in the last year focusing on pregnancy horror. I hear people get all assed up when a new zombie or found footage film is made, but for some reason, worn out subgenres like pregnancy horror seem to have scores of films added to it every year. It’s not that these films aren’t good. They just tread the same path, tick off all the same marks, and use the same tropes every damn time. I don’t mean to rant like this in a review for OUT OF THE SHADOWS. It just has the bad luck to be the straw that broke the camel’s back when it comes to me reviewing these types of films.
Newlyweds Eric and Katrina Hughes (Blake Northfield and Kendal Rae) move into a hew home in the middle of the Australian countryside. A police officer, Eric is embroiled in a case where a father goes nuts and murders his wife and unborn child—a case which hits a little too close to home as Katrina is expecting their first child. With the murderer chanting in his cell, Eric tries to leave work at work, but Katrina begins seeing shadows move in the periphery, strange voices in the night, and ghostly images of a nurse reaching out for her unborn child. At first, Eric believes his wife’s symptoms are simply natural pregnancy jitters, but when Katrina’s behavior intensifies, he feels she is losing her mind. That is, until Eric starts hearing the voices. Seeking the aid of the church, the Hughes find help from a rockin’ and rollin’ demonologist named Linda Dee (Lisa Chappell), who helps the family fight the forces of the demon Baal, who wants Katrina’s baby!
I will give it to this film, they do a decent job of schmelding together shadow people/night terrors with pregnancy horror. Katrina suffers from paralysis at night and visions of Baal, with his Freddy Krueger hat and trench, are somewhat striking when done in the right light (or darkness in this case). Though the more light shed on the demon in the last act decreases its effectiveness significantly. The film also does a great job with the sound effects, giving a truly unearthly and guttural snarl to the demon voices that Katrina and the crew are haunted by.
That said, all of the other tropes are here with people doubting Katrina’s sanity because of her pregnancy, Katrina being left alone all of the time because of Eric’s trying job, and the paranoia of losing the baby ever present to any and all that come into contact with Katrina. These are concepts alive and kicking in ROSEMARY’S BABY and have been popping up with greater and greater frequency in modern horror as of late. OUT OF THE SHADOWS doesn’t do it badly, it is just that I’ve seen so many of these films just this year that I’m hoping this is the last pregnancy horror film I see in a while.
With so many possibilities of horror lurking in every shadow, why is it that instead of coming up with new terrors, filmmakers seem to return from the well with the exact same ideas? OUT OF THE SHADOWS is a decent film and if it weren’t like every other pregnancy horror film out there, it might even be a great one. The acting is solid (save the over the top antics of everyone during the climax/showdown scene which is pretty ridiculous). The budget seems decent as well as the production, scenery, and effects. Some late in the game twists make things fun, but that doesn’t redeem it from being a retread of what we’ve seen before.
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