07th Dec2018

‘Out of the Shadows’ Review

by Chris Ellis

Stars: Blake Northfield, Kendal Rae, Lisa Chappell,  Helmut Bakaitis, Jake Ryan, Goran D. Kleut, Anna Demidova, Jim Robison, Miyuki Lotz, Madison Haley, Fiona Press | Written by Dee McLachlan, Rena Owen | Directed by Dee McLachlan


Joining the long list of haunted house flicks is Australian offering Out of the Shadows from Dee McLachlan. The director’s last feature was 10Terrorists in 2012 (with a couple of episodes of Wentworth inbetween). Has this long gestation period allowed for a horror masterclass? Read on to find out!

Our plot revolves around Detective Eric Hughes (Blake Northfield) and his heavily pregnant wife Katrina (Kendal Rae) the couple find themselves taking residence in a former midwifery with a dark past whilst Eric attempts to unravel the truth behind a grisly murder. As spooky events transpire, we’re left to question whether Katrina mental state is beginning to unravel or if she is truly the victim of dark forces intent on harming her unborn child.

First the good news. For a low budget production, Out of the Shadows looks great. The midwifery provides a suitably creepy location, and the drone shots give a sense of the isolation of the property which mirrors Katrina’s increasing distance from Eric. This film also features my favourite destruction of a cuddly toy.

Now the bad news…. Imagine if you will a film where you combine every haunted house story of the last 15 years, throw in a little bit of Insidious here, a little bit of The Conjuring there. Whilst that sounds like a sure- fire success, the result produces a generic mish-mash without the skills or scares of its superior brethren.

It’s hard to know where to place the blame for this particular effort, McLachlan co-writes as well as directs and conjures up a world where each character is a bland stereotype. We have Eric, the cop with an edge through his random aggressive outbursts. Demonologist Linda (Lisa Chappell) the bad ass biker in trouble with the law and Father Phillips (Helmut Bakaitis) he’s white, he’s old, he’s as bland as dry bread. That leaves poor old Kendal Rae. As the protagonist she is responsible for the films heavy lifting and her through line from happily pregnant wife through paranoid descent is essential for any emotional involvement from the audience. For her part she does try her best and it’s no coincidence that the films best moments come when she is on screen.

Rae is not helped by the paranoia storyline being jettisoned early into proceedings and leaves us with her wandering through a deserted house as one or two shadows hover into view without any sense of threat. Elsewhere Northfield shows his flair for detective work by screaming “what did you do with the baby” at our caged killer Charles Winter (Jake Ryan)

Out of the Shadows then lurches from predictable twist through to cliched exorcism before descending into absolute farce. However I will give credit for McLachlan’s decision to end the film on a particularly downbeat note.

In summary, McLachlan sets out to create a film where paranoia meets the supernatural, what she has ended up with is a work where the bland meets the generic. If jump scares and emotional breakdowns are your thing then you will be best placed seeking out the similarly themed but greatly superior Still/Born (2017).

Out of the Shadows is available on VOD now from Evolutionary Films.


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