Thursday, 13 March 2014

Out Of The Darkness

'Out Of The Darkness' is a surprisingly effective Children's Film Foundation mash up of 'Lost Hearts' and 'The Wickerman' set in delightful Derbyshire. It was written and directed by John Krish, an under-rated stalwart of domestic film and TV who is personally responsible for a number of iconic moments in British culture, not least of which some great documentaries and chilling public information films like 'The Finishing Line' and 'Last Minute'.

The story concerns three annoying kids on holiday who, one by one, see the ghost of a boy from the 17th century. The boy was an inhabitant of Eyam, a nearby village stricken by the black death when a contaminated roll of cloth was sent up to the local tailor from that London, causing an outbreak that eventually killed 75% of the inhabitants. Bravely, the village chose to quarantine itself and wait out its fate (this all actually happened, by the way, making Eyam is an extremely interesting place to visit). In this story, however, one young man escaped, only to be driven to his death by the terrified inhabitants of the next village. Once every hundred years, his unquiet, dirty faced spirit returns in search of redemption and a Christian burial.

Atmospheric, very occasionally hallucinatory, the film benefits by surefooted direction and by being a lot grimmer than the CFF's usual knockabout fare. The Derbyshire landscape, with its wide open spaces and dark confined places is nicely exploited, and there's a genuine sense of mild panic as the story reaches it's climax although, perhaps in order to stop any potential nightmares in its youthful audience, the film ends happily and with a big old tea party. Good stuff, and nice looking sandwiches.

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