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From Black (Film Review)

3 min read
Anna Cope in From Black

Photo Credit: Shudder

Losing a loved one is never easy, and the disappearance of a child strikes unimaginable fear and despair into most who even try to grapple with it. This devastating loss and how far a parent would go to save their beloved youngster is explored in 's chilling From Black.

The demonic film follows the story of Cora (), a recovering drug addict desperate for closure and navigating intense guilt following the disappearance of her young son Noah (). After attending group therapy sessions to come to terms with her loss, she is presented with a bizarre offer by the group's leader Abel () to learn the truth about what happened and the opportunity to bring Noah back – but it comes at a terrifying price.

The horror in From Black works on multiple levels, creating an intricate tapestry of terror that is sure to weave itself under your skin. On the surface, it is a chilling story of demons – both physical and metaphorical – with the film's supernatural villain slowly revealing itself as Cora and Abel progress deeper into the ritual designed to return their children to them, one the latter claims reunited him with his daughter. The pair's descent into darkness is a fully encapsulating experience as scenes become lower in light levels and higher in blood and guts as From Black's horrifying demon rises to the surface.

Anna Cope and John Ales in From Black
Photo Credit:

There are few jump scares within the narrative, with the film instead utilising horrific imagery to instil fear in viewers – something that works incredibly well as Cora delves deeper and deeper into each stage of the ritual and begins to take part in darker acts for a chance at redemption.

But it is in Cora's redemption arc that From Black wobbles in its final act as the strong, resolute mother who seems determined to get her son back at any cost wavers in her pursuit. Some of the judgments her character makes in the penultimate scenes seem out of step when considered in the rest of her character development – with those around her in the narrative equally perplexed and enraged by her sudden lack of commitment to fulfilling her deal with the demon.

However, where the film loses its way in parts it makes up for within the overall tone and atmosphere created through each dark and brooding scene that creates an at-times unbearably painful watch.

From the very first scenes of From Black, we are thrust into a bleak and dismal world where pain and heartbreak are never too far away. You will find yourself not only looking away from the scenes of violence in the film but also in the uncomfortable moments we see young Noah caring for himself while Cora and her abusive junkie boyfriend Wyatt (Travis Hammer) are too high to care.

Anna Camp in From Black
Photo Credit: Shudder

As the audience, we are seated front and centre in a variety of emotionally charged scenes that showcase Anna Camp's magnificent performance in the role of Cora. From her painful admissions in group sessions without an ounce of emotion in her voice, as she is wrung dry from years of guilt to hearing her guttural screams as the demon forces her to watch the painful demise her young son met, Camp delivers a hair-raising performance that brought a tear to my eye.

John Ales in the role of Abel similarly delivers a stunning performance as the complex and immediately unnerving group leader as he supports Cora on her quest for her son. The untrusting dynamic between the two in such an intimate situation as baring your grief over your own flesh and blood makes for a skin-crawling spectacle from start to finish.

While the motivations of the characters sometimes become muddled, From Black is a powerful exploration of parenthood and redemption that will make you question just how far you would go to save those you love.

From Black premieres exclusively on Shudder on April 28, 2023