Alice Oscura, Featured Writer
Warning: Minor Spoilers Ahead
Almost everyone on this planet has experienced grief in one form or another. And grief has been the inspiration for many horror films over the years. The audience has seen time and time again the detrimental circumstances that befall a protagonist every time they try to meddle in the afterlife while being propelled by a deep desperation to replace what they once lost.
In the Shudder released horror From Black a recovering drug addict named Cora (Anna Camp from Pitch Perfect, The Help) is consumed with grief after the disappearance of her young son Noah (Eduardo Campirano) seven years ago. In an attempt to cope she attends a grief support group for parents who have lost their children. The group leader Abel (John Ales, True Story, Euphoria) takes a special interest in Cora. Soon Abel reveals to the long-suffering mother that there is a way that she may be able to see her beloved Noah once again. She doesn’t believe him at first but soon Cora finds herself warming up to the possibility that she might be able to regain her son. Abel goes on to explain that the process involves a very difficult and dangerous ritual, but the result is positive. You see, he used the exact ritual revealed to him by a woman and Abel was able to successfully bring back his once-deceased daughter Beverly. She is now living with her mother in Boston.
The film’s menacing score is one of the strongest elements of the film. It contributes heavily to the ominous atmosphere, especially when the main protagonist delves deeper into the ritual. The story encompasses acute grief over the loss of a child. However, it’s worse here for the main protagonist because she assumes guilt over her son’s disappearance. It’s a familiar story but not entirely a play-by-play in comparison to other horror movies centered around the grief of a parent.
The slow pace of the story’s development accompanied by confusing flashbacks and flash forwards are very distracting. It’s also a bit scarce in the fear department until we hit the actual ritual. The tension spikes by more than a few notches when a mysterious demonic presence is released and begins to torment Cora. There’s superbly done special effects here with the creature and skillful camera angles during a particularly gory scene that’s sure to make any viewer gag. Cast performances were fair for the supporting cast, however, stand-out performances go to Anna Camp and John Ales. Ales coincidentally served as co-producer of From Black.
I enjoyed the fact that the film was able to show the quirky side of Cora in between her bouts of sadness. My favourite line of hers was, “Don’t be weird” whenever she felt uncomfortable. There’s also a very interesting explanation of the purpose of using salt in spiritual rituals. Salt creates a protective layer and absorbs negative energy. That’s why many spiritual rituals contain the element of salt because it is seen as a purifier and a form of protection against negative energy or malevolent spirits.
Thought that I should insert here, out of sheer curiosity, whether or not anyone here has heard about the following dark theory concerning the children’s animated movie Finding Nemo. It’s that Nemo’s father Marlin is the one that ate all of the eggs. Nemo never survived and Marlin goes on a pseudo-search for him to compensate for his guilty conscience. I know the theory is a bit wild and very, very disturbing. Anyway, I’m open to anyone expanding on this in the comments.
From Black can be terrifyingly entertaining once you cross over the hurdle of the slow rhythm at the first juncture. It’s a good story with great depth that encompasses the detriments of letting grief consume your every thought because desperation can make you do something that you may regret for a long time to come.
Alice’s Score: 7 out of 10
Dark Alice has an old soul and a curious mind. I believe that anyone can be a hero and that the good guys should always win! I dislike cruelty to animals and think that they have far superior qualities to humans. My motto is there is no future without the past. I also have a weird penchant for Paranormal TV shows even though the slightest sound makes me jump. I enjoy writing reviews and throwing in fun facts to pique the readers’ curiosity. My ultimate goal in life would be to become a published writer one day. Read More