Out Of Darkness: Safia Oakley-Green and Kit Young on their Stone Age horror

Out Of Darkness: Safia Oakley-Green and Kit Young on their Stone Age horror

Set 45,000 years ago, Out Of Darkness sees a tribe of Stone Age people navigate a foreign land that seems to have a few strange things go bump in the night. We spoke to the movie’s stars Safia Oakley-Green and Kit Young to find out more…

Directed by Andrew Cumming and written by Ruth Greenberg, upcoming horror Out Of Darkness is set in the Stone Age and finds a tight-knit tribe of early humans on a journey to find new land and secure a better future for themselves.

However, as they navigate unknown and treacherous terrain, they realise that something lurks in the darkness. As the group falls victim one-by-one, one young woman – Beyah (played by Extraordinary’s Safia Oakley-Green) stands between the survival of the tribe and their gruesome demise, with the help of her friend Geirr (played by Shadow and Bone’s Kit Young).

We spoke to Oakley-Green and Young about learning a whole new, original language for the movie, the challenging filming process and why horror looks a little different when it’s set 45,000 years ago…

Out Of Darkness has a very unique concept! What were your thoughts when you read the script?

Safia Oakley-Green: Ruth is just such an incredible writer. I love everything she’s ever written. I remember picking it up and just being like ‘oh god, this character is amazing. This Beyah character is so cool. I’d love to do this’. In this story, her arc is just so visceral. I think it’s quite rare that you see such a visceral arc in a young character.

Kit Young: It’s genuinely one of the only scripts that I’ve read beginning to end without putting it down.

I was asked to tape for it and I think only after I did the first tape did they then spring it on me that ‘oh yeah, by the way, there’s going to be a brand new language’ and that certainly heightens both my intrigue and my fear!

Because all of the six characters at the heart of the story are really vividly drawn, I was very excited to see how they would all come together.

As you mentioned, you had to learn a whole new language for Out Of Darkness. How did you find that?

Kit Young: We had this wonderful, professional linguist called Daniel Anderson, who was tasked with creating the language that we called ‘Tola’. I think we only had a week and a half before we went out there where we’d have one-on-one sessions on Zoom.

But it was great, because actually, what it meant was that we were all able to discover it together, and then change bits together and make it simpler or more complicated, which meant that by the end of the shoot, we were able to improvise in the language, which is really surprising. Not something you’d expect at all!

Did speaking a new language affect your performance in any way?

Kit Young: There were definitely times where you spend time really learning your lines and learning how you’re going to say them, and you don’t have time to do that for everybody else’s lines.

So there were definitely a couple of takes, especially at the beginning of the shoot, where you kind of look at the other actor and you’re going ‘I don’t know if you’ve finished talking yet because I think you’ve still got some syllables left’!

The cast were from all over, so people have different accents and ways of saying words. So you’re really having to listen.

But by the end of the shoot, I genuinely believe that we really understood a lot of what people were saying. We obviously had the translation, we knew what we were saying to each other, but you were really able to pick up very instinctively what we were all doing for each other. It really does make the performances a bit more straightforward because you have to get the meaning of your intention across. There’s no room for hyperbole. There’s no room for metaphors. It’s basic hunter-gatherer needs that are going on in the film and the way that we’re communicating emulates that.

Safia Oakley-Green: I think 100% the positives were, when you’re acting and it’s in English, words do carry a lot and if you get the intention of them wrong, or if it’s not what maybe the writer or the director intended, you can quickly get into discussions like ‘no, we want the weight on this word or that word’.

Whereas with this, it just went out the window because it was your choice what you chose to emphasise and not emphasise. So it really did help with the instinctual nature.

It’s quite a harsh-sounding language. So that helps too!

Safia Oakley-Green (pictured) and Kit Young had to learn a new, original language for the movie.

What was it like playing a character from the Stone Age?

Safia Oakley-Green: All of our costumes were made from real skins. So they stunk and we stunk and that helped because all of these things make you forget who that person is and be more in this.

It was weird because some of the cast would get their phones out on the way to set and then someone’s stood in this vast expanse in this caveman outfit and they’re on their iPhone. That was really funny.

Kit Young: All of us had slightly different instincts and we had to be somewhat led by our brilliant director Andrew Cumming, who spearheaded us (no pun intended, but we are carrying spears around) on the physicality of these people, this tribe and what their roles are. Those tribal instincts are things that even today we all live with. The roles within a household are descended from these things. So I think once you know who you are within a group [you know] the way that you communicate and the way that you move together.

Safia, how would you describe Beyah and her journey in Out Of Darkness?

Safia Oakley-Green: She’s very impressionable. She’s the odd one out of this group of people and she’s frantically trying to learn what she’s supposed to be and find her place. It’s just unfortunate that the people that she’s learning from are not the best [haha].

[Her journey] starts from a place of innocence and then there are definitely points in the film where things happen where it’s almost like a switch and she goes like ‘oh, okay, the world is not what I expected it was’.

Then it’s almost like her whole body becomes calloused by the weight of everything that she experiences and she doesn’t really see that in herself until the very end.

Beyah’s journey starts from a place of innocence but it certainly doesn’t finish there in Out Of Darkness.

Kit, how would you describe Geirr and his role in this group?

Kit Young: He’s the empath. He’s the one person who in a world that’s so brutal, where there is no real time for such modern-day terms as mental health, he’s the person that if something bad happens even to another person, he’s the person that feels on their behalf. He’s the person who grieves when someone is lost, who will care and pick someone up if they fall down.

Bless him, he’s not really cut out for that brutal world. I think we joked on set that if it was in the modern-day world he would very happily get on and do an engineering degree and live quite a normal life.

But he’s the example of one of the few people in the film who sees the atrocities of human nature but doesn’t have that killer instinct. He’s a compassionate person. Which is adding to the tragedy of the whole thing, and is a lot of fun to play.

What was it like shooting Out Of Darkness in Scotland?

Safia Oakley-Green: It was incredible. I feel like I didn’t appreciate it as much when I was there.

[We shot in] November and it was very cold. I feel like there’s a physical transformation in all of us at the end of the movie just because our faces, especially my face, became a bit more swollen from just being outside all day every day for six weeks in cold and rain!

The landscapes are just as important a member of the cast as every other member of the cast. It added so much and brought so much out in us and in the film. It was incredible.

There were quite a few tough days when the weather was really challenging. Also, where we were shooting there was one circular road to where we needed to go and one time there was a car accident on that road, so we had to find a new location because it was going to take us two and a half hours to go around the other way rather than a half an hour drive.

So it was a challenge. But I never any point thought it was too difficult. The drives to and from work were just beautiful. You’re driving through this vast, expansive mountainous landscape. It was gorgeous.

Kit Young: Honestly, the film is great, but I think possibly the more interesting film is about the making of!

We’d all get in the car every day and we’d drive out to a location that had been beautifully selected and we just shot there.

It was COVID time so it was a small group of people rallying together. It was truly amazing. It’s one of the greatest examples of synergy I’ve ever seen on a job. Everybody mucking in together.

There was a mixture of us fighting the elements trying to get our work done when the weather said no and there was a mixture of us just allowing ourselves to live in it and trying to imagine that three miles away there isn’t a motorway!

The most distracting thing was obviously a bunch of people in beanies and parka jackets behind the camera because you’re like ‘you’re not from this time period’ but the rest of it just did it for us. It was the most beautiful landscape for us to be in.

Out Of Darkness was shot in Scotland, which came with a few challenges!

How does the movie’s time setting affect its horror movie elements?

Kit Young: It’s really interesting because nowhere is safe. We’re out in the wilderness and then we come across the woods, and that’s our version of ‘don’t go into the creepy basement’ and so you know, at some point, we’re gonna have to go in the creepy basement. And surely at that point, heads will start to roll basically.

But they’re so exposed and they know nothing about where they’ve landed. They’ve arrived in a place that is new to the audience and to them. So it really reels you in as a watcher because you know just as much as they do, and even less because you don’t speak the language.

I think there’s something about being exposed. Like the lack of infrastructure and technology and safety. You know the film will be completely changed if someone had a gun!

Everybody is vulnerable, especially when nightfall comes. And that was terrifying enough when we shot it! The only light was the fire we had on set. We genuinely didn’t know what was out there!

So I think the nature of being truly exposed and the fear of the unknown is the thing that will grip people. It’s not a slasher film, it’s a suspense film. It’s the worrying that something is gonna happen…

What kind of scares can audiences expect from Out Of Darkness?

Kit Young: It’s that kind of slow-burn suspense thing. The whole first act is getting to know the characters, and then there’s an exciting incident, and then it just rockets from there. It’s all about damage control and then there’s discovery within that journey.

We took inspiration from films like The Thing and Alien because so much of it isn’t about the Xenomorph, it’s about the crew. Then you discover that ‘thing’.

What do you want for audiences to take away from Out Of Darkness once the credits roll?

Safia Oakley-Green: I want them to sit there and think. I want them to enjoy it. I want them to see society maybe today in it. I want them to hopefully be on their side.

I just really like films that make you forget where you are until the credits roll. I’d love that. I’d love for people to be immersed in that world for the 90 minutes.

Kit Young: I think I want people to ask the question: who are the real monsters? Because there’s a lot to be said for the actions of the characters at the centre – people who make compassionate decisions, brave ones or stupid ones. People who make really immoral decisions that suddenly you can’t back. I find when you have an ensemble cast, every audience member naturally will identify with one or two of them and be like ‘oh, I’d be that one’ but if that person does something different from what you would do, how do you then reconcile that?

So I want people to really ask who the real monsters are…

Signature Entertainment presents Out of Darkness only in cinemas 23 February.

Find more trailer, news, reviews, interviews and competitions at SciFiNow.