OUT THERE is the latest offering from Randal and Oliver Plunkett and Dunsany Productions. In the way WALT seemed to play out as a coming of age story in the opening moments, OUT THERE opens as a meditation on the nature of memory. The thing to keep in mind is that both films are not what they first seem. Discordant and unnerving music playing over joyous and bittersweet moments alike set the tone of the latest offering from Dunsany Productions.
Great camera work again shows how beautiful and isolating nature can be. Good positioning provides for interesting compositions, especially as Robert enters a rundown croft. A generator idles and a disembodied hand lies near an old car. As far as hints of what has gone wrong Plunkett provides very few. This technique provides a blank background that allows the characters to stand out.
Interspersed flashbacks show the relationship between Robert and Jane and begin hinting at the development of a widespread calamity. As Robert frantically tries to find out what has happened during the past few hours his search grows more and more frenzied with the tension only broken by the flashbacks.
Robert enters a nightmarish house while wandering. For me, this is the centerpiece of OUT THERE. So many great horror elements come together in this scene and there is only Marren and a well designed set featured. Esoteric phrases in English and Latin are written on the walls. The largest being written in blood: “The Devil cannot tempt me with what I do not desire.” While a placard above a doorway reads “Extinctus amabitur idem” or “The hated man will be loved after he’s dead.” In addition to the unnerving phrases creaking doors and long slow tracking shots build the tension as the camera slowly reveals the chaotic abattoir filled with blood and viscera. Frenetic edits and tumultuous music build to a crescendo as pounding footsteps move across the upper floor. Robert has seen enough and makes a break for it.
Robert eventually finds his car and is suddenly overcome as he remembers what had happened. In an instant the viewer stops seeing Robert as a sympathetic character and soon after the realization sets in the film ends.
OUT THERE has provided a thoughtful entry into the zombie subgenre of horror. Like DEAD WEIGHT it has succeeded doing so with not only a minimum of zombies. Unlike any other though it does so with a main cast mostly made up of the protagonist. Instead of worrying about other human survivors and zombies Robert has to deal with nature and himself. With minimal dialogue the viewer is given enough information of what has happened and the ensuing confusion.
The technical production is solid. Good editing, great sound, practical effects and music. The cinematography is top notch too. This movie really hinges on the performance of the lead, Connor Marren, and he delivers. Confusion, anguish and fear all shine through as he races to recover his memory. In addition to Marren the supporting cast perform admirably though most are silent. Emma Eliza Regan is convincing as Jane and the familiar face of Cian Lavelle-Walsh will be readily apparent to those who have seen WALT. Even through heavy make-up.
Look for OUT THERE to cut a bit of a swath through the festivals. It is another solid offering from Dunsany Productions.