The Highlands of Scotland are the proper backdrop for Andrew Cumming’s prehistoric style piece The Origin, a survivalist horror that additionally works as a considerate human drama as its core solid of six struggle for his or her lives in opposition to a violent, unseen creature. The Origin had its world premiere on the BFI London Movie Pageant.
The setting is 45,000 years in the past, and a touchdown get together led by Adem (Chuku Modu) washes up on the shore of what they hope to be the promised land. It’s, nevertheless, a false daybreak: the soil is barren, and the group wants to remain on the transfer if they’re to outlive. However as they achieve this, the terrain turns into extra forbidding — vast open plains and claustrophobic forests —and one thing terrifying is on their path, making dusk particularly tense.
There are many parallels with different motion pictures, notably John Carpenter’s The Factor, however The Origin goes a lot additional in its world-building, having its characters communicate a wierd guttural language (truly a mixture of Arabic and Basque). It’s a daring selection, and, like DP Ben Fordesman’s atmospheric however typically very low-lit lensing, one thing that lends itself to a richer and extra immersive expertise in an enormous, darkish cinema than something a streaming platform may provide. On this respect, the storytelling, for essentially the most half, is extremely visible, and plenty of heavy lifting is completed by the areas past the body, which is a continuing reminder of how completely alone and susceptible these individuals are. The unsettling sound combine is essential too, working in tandem with Adam Janota Bzowki’s primal however delicate rating to deliver each pressure and a few much-needed reduction.
The solid, although their security is just not assured and just one will prevail as what might be known as the movie’s solely true protagonist, is a real ensemble, and the variety of the casting helps set up the fractious state of the group to start with: the headstrong Adem, his extra empathetic brother Geirr (Package Younger), his son Heron (Luna Mwezi) and pregnant “spouse” Avé (Iola Evans). Rounding out the six are two foragers, the elder Odal (Arno Lüning) and teenage Beyah (Safia Oakley-Inexperienced), outsiders who come to embody the movie’s slowly rising central theme of group and otherness.
The reveal, when it comes, is extra a slowly dawning realization than a Shyamalan doozy (no, it’s not the current day or an apocalyptic future), with loads of clues alongside the way in which that pay again shut consideration. It might not be particularly delicate in that respect, however The Origin has loads to say about man’s slow-moving and ongoing evolution, reflecting all of the myriad divisions in in the present day’s world, from Brexit to Biden’s America, and being particularly evocative of a world popping out of lockdown (the movie was shot on the peak of Covid restrictions, and a way of isolation reveals). In that sense, it’s a cautionary story as outdated as time — or because the preternaturally smart Odal places it, “The hazard in bringing gentle to a darkish place is that you simply would possibly discover out what lives within the darkness.”