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Review:  ‘Out of the Dark’ brilliantly shot, poorly executed

‘Out of the Dark’
Julia Stiles, right, and Scott Speedman in “Out of the Dark.”
(Vertical Entertainment)

At almost every juncture in “Out of the Dark,” a ghost thriller set in Colombia, something textured and evocative — a poor village, a dark old house, a menacing jungle — is beautifully photographed. Nearly everything else (story, direction, performances, scares) is thuddingly telegraphed.

The effect is a movie lovely to look at but on-the-nose and crushingly dull, a pair of qualities a ghost yarn can’t live on.

Julia Stiles and Scott Speedman play a married couple who move to remote fishing village Santa Clara, Colombia, so she can manage the paper factory her father (Stephen Rea) has been running for decades.

When their daughter Hannah appears targeted by apparitions of bandaged, scarred children, it’s not hard to figure out that the kids have something to do with a deadly incident involving the big, bad mill years ago.

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Writers Javier Gullón and David and Alex Pastor approach what is essentially a socially conscious haunting with maddeningly linear determination, while 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.

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“Out of the Dark.”

MPAA rating: R for violence, terror, disturbing images.

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Running time: 1 hour, 33 minutes.

Playing: AMC Burbank Town Center 8.


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