Police detective Eric Hughes and his pregnant American wife Katrina strive to find their own place and withdraw from Eric’s father’s home. A hot tip leads them to small, slightly rundown, midwives maternity facility just out on the rural outskirts of Crystal Springs. With help from their friends and a lot of elbow grease, Eric and Katrina rehab the structure into their dream home to settle down in hopes to raise their first born, but Katrina quickly discovers that her dream house is more like the house from hell when shadowy figures suddenly appear through the walls with an apparition of a midwife nurse bellowing, “Give me Scarlett!” – the name of Katrina’s unborn child. The Hughes turn to the Church to plead for assistance and an unorthodox demonologist, hearing their call for help, tends to their aid in hopes to cease the languishing torment, but rushing into the situation, eager to rid the supernatural forces from plaguing the Hughes, has escalated the pending doom for their unborn child.
“Out of the Shadows” is the 2017 released, ghostly-demonic horror from Australia, directed and co-written by Duncan “Dee” McLachlan along with co-writer Rena Owen (“The Last Witch Hunter”) from a story by Eric Nash. McLachlan’s atmospherics can compete with the best, toying with the shadowy figures passing behind frosted windows and door panes in a glimpse of a moment, demonic tongue ripping through the ears of the latched upon victim that is Katrina, and conjuring up vivid and haunting figures that are airy and grim. All of which is backed by sound cinematography by Viv Scanu in creating a personality, essentially giving breath, toward the Hughes home of destined damnation. Set location speaks for itself being a countryside, rundown hovel, but the innards bare an unsecured unsettling with many windows in a well ventilated structure fenced around by obscuring foliage that creates a gloomy prison for a tormented Katrina.
Kendal Rae stars as the stalked Katrina Hughes who goes from happy-go-lucky to a panicky mess in less than sixty seconds from the first inkling of trouble. Rae has a fine performance being the frightened house wife to the never-at-home husband, but that inability to transition, with time, Katrina’s slow burn into insanity or supernatural plunder is a blight on her performance. That never-at-home and naive detective husband finds an actor as the first feature film for Blake Northfield. Northfield’s has naivety down pat with Eric’s dismissive attitude and a penchant for not caring. Eric and Katrina seek the help from a renegade exorcist Linda Dee (Lisa Chappell) whose a biker relative of Father Joe Phillips (“Matrix’s” Helmut Bakaitis) with a checkered past and on thin ice with the Catholic Church for practicing unauthorized exorcisms, but that’s about how far the script takes us when delving into Linda Dee’s backstory. Jake Ryan, Jim Robison, and “Alien: Covenant’s” Goran D. Kleut, as the Hat-man Demon, round out the remaining cast.
As with the Linda Dee character, a noticeably uncomfortable underdevelopment of major roles put divots into the, what should have been, a cut and dry storyline whose only complexity would be if Katrina’s harrowing ghostly encounters are caused by either a sudden loneliness with her husband leaving her by herself for work, the fluctuation of pregnancy hormones, or an acute combination of both. Dee’s wavering stance with the Church, and also with her uncle, is hardly touched upon with brief exposition and doesn’t convey the severity of her actions that warrant being on the outs with the Catholic officials. Concurrently, Katrina suffers with a tangent subplot with unspoken tension between her and her State side mother that never gets explored, leaving the scenes left detached like an unhinged satellite orbiting the planetary story.
Umbrella Entertainment releases the Bronte Pictures produced “Out of the Shadows” onto DVD that’s presented in an 2.35:1 widescreen. Image quality has some nice outlined details without sizable DNR, especially during night sequences in the midsts of constructing a formidable shadow army. Though tinted in more of a blue and yellow hue, the overall color palette is pleasing, even if staged like a “Saw” film. The computer generated effects are where the details go awry dipping toward a softer side that perhaps exhibits the production value. The English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack has no defining qualms with a even spread of low and high level ranges to where even the muttering demonic chanting is audible. There are no bonus material and the DVD doesn’t even have a static menu for guidance as the movie plays as soon as the opening credits roll. “Out of the Shadows” has a premise that’s been through the horror mill before, but director Dee McLachlan holds the thrilling line, maintaining a collectively strong start to finish to only stray from one or two key subplots that would wholeheartedly tie the entire film together.
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Almost a year ago, do you remember the real life face-eating cannibal Rudy Eugene due to, unconfirmed, street drug nicknamed “bath salts?” Eugene basically left his disabled vehicle near a Miami causeway, stripped completely butt-ass naked, and assaulted one Ronald Poppo by beating him down to the ground, stripping off his homeless man trousers, and proceeding to munch on the upper portion of his face. A real life zombie? Most likely not, but the more probably cause would be high as a kite on drugs, making him insane and almost superhuman-like. Reportedly, the attack went on for nearly 20 minutes and police even shot Eugene four times.
A year later, ambitious filmmakers came together with the “Miami Zombie” inspiration in mind and made a highly exaggerated, or was it, loosely based film about drug addicts turning into face biting zombies after smoking a bath salt resembler that is actually concocted from a highly toxic, military grade, weaponized substance that somehow mysteriously disappeared from the military’s inventory. Hot on the destructive addict’s tail is a relentless DEA agent who will stop at nothing to put an end to reign of bath salt terror!
Who are these ambitious filmmakers? And how the hell did they pull off a great fun and creative movie about the bath salt “Miami Zombie?” First off, the team of creators and actors behind that fantastic little Faustian film Night of the Tentacles were involved! Dustin Wayde Mills, whom very uncanny in looks and voice resembles Red State director Kevin Smith, directs, co-wrote, and also co-stars as the money hungry mad scientist behind the bath salt concoction. Night of the Tentacles lead man Brandon Salkil who is comically animated and has great facial features for film. Secondly, my main man Clint Weiler produced and co-wrote Bath Salt Zombies. Clint is also a head hancho over at MVD, a major home entertainment distributor for music and DVD video!
Bath Salt Zombies combines 300 with Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. You have the epic fight scenes, done very well by the way with well done choreographs by co-star Jason Eal (DEA agent), with the Scott Pilgrim like animations that turn a cheesy premises into the next big indie cult film – the next Dead Next Door comes to mind. Now, I could be wrong, but I found that Bath Salt Zombies paid homage to a couple of other notable horror and action icons such as the first Resident Evil video game in the mini-cartoon intro at the beginning reminded me of first appearance of a zombie and the subway fight finale reminded me of Neo and Agent Smith duking it out in the first Matrix. However, Bath Salt Zombies delivers more blood and more creative style with the budget.
What I really wanted more from this film was Erin R. Ryan’s twins in the shower. Along with Ryan’s ta tas, Bath Salt Zombies offers other perks such as a fully frontal 4 minute scene of DeviantArt and Model Mayhem model Bella Demente! You also have a great punk Soundtrack to go along with the spew of blood, the elastic internal organs, the dismembered body parts, and the multiple decapitations. I highly recommend this movie to any comedy, horror, or drug addict fan because Bath Salt Zombies entertains with a blood, boobs and banter that hasn’t been this witty for a indie film in such a long, long time! Well played!