Out of the Dark

Watch Out of the Dark

  • R
  • 1995
  • 1 hr 26 min
  • 6.8  (2,805)

Out of the Dark is a 1995 Hong Kong horror comedy film that showcases the comedic talents of Stephen Chow, known for his unique style often referred to as "mo lei tau," a Cantonese term for nonsensical humor, alongside the versatile Karen Mok and the comedic actor Yat-Fei Wong. This film is a distinctive blend of the supernatural and slapstick comedy, a combination that has been a mainstay in Hong Kong cinema, particularly during the 1980s and 90s.

The film's narrative revolves around an odd and somewhat disturbed individual played by Stephen Chow, who believes he is the embodiment of Leon, the slick, renegade character from Luc Besson's 1994 thriller "Léon: The Professional." Equipped with a plant and a vendetta against perceived evil-doers, Chow's character takes it upon himself to engage in ghost-busting activities. His self-asserted role intersects with the story of a group of apartment residents who start experiencing haunting phenomena within their building.

Karen Mok stars as one of these tenants, a woman who becomes entangled in the supernatural crisis gripping her community. Known for her versatile acting abilities, Mok balances the demands of horror and comedy deftly. She manages to convey the fear and confusion of living in an apartment complex under siege by otherworldly forces, while also engaging with the comedic elements that Stephen Chow's character introduces to the scenario.

Yat-Fei Wong adds to the humorous dimension of the film in his role as one of the apartment's residents or perhaps an associate of Chow's character, contributing to the zany, often light-hearted approach to what is traditionally a dark and scary genre. Wong often played memorable supporting roles in Hong Kong films, injecting humor and warmth into his characters.

At its core, Out of the Dark is a parodic take on the horror movie trope but with a uniquely Hong Kong flavor. It pays homage to various film classics through its main character and plot elements while also poking fun at the typical ghost story conventions. The inclusion of a hitman-like character as the lead not only provides a bounty of visual and situational humor but allows the narrative to explore the metaphysical conflict of good versus evil in a tongue-in-cheek manner.

The horror aspects of the film are presented in a campy and over-the-top fashion, with the ghosts and supernatural occurrences being more comical than terrifying. This allows for a certain lightness to permeate the plot, keeping the viewer amused even as the characters confront the paranormal. Special effects, makeup, and set design are central to crafting the film's unique ambiance, blending elements of the eerie with the absurd.

The film stays true to some of the genre conventions—the haunted location, the distressed tenants, the battle against supernatural forces—but it does so while completely subverting the typical atmosphere of tension and dread one would expect from a horror film. Instead, audiences are treated to instances of hysterical antics, sight gags, and quirky dialogue, all characteristics of Stephen Chow's comedic sensibilities.

Out of the Dark also delves into pseudo-psychological realms, examining the thin line between sanity and insanity. Chow's character's self-delusion of being "Leon" serves as a vehicle to explore themes of identity, purpose, and reality versus fantasy. As the line between his delusions and his real actions against the supernatural blur, the film plays with audience expectations regarding what is genuine in a world where the rules of logic do not seem to apply.

In its examination of the human condition, the film does not shy away from moments of poignancy amidst the chaos. Behind the hilarity lies a deeper reflection on solitude, societal expectations, and personal responsibility. Chow's character is particularly central to this exploration, as his actions—though absurd and often nonsensical—stem from a desire to do good and fight against what he perceives as darkness.

Out of the Dark offers a pastiche of the supernatural and the absurd, featuring a trio of actors known for their ability to traverse genres and perform in both dramatic and comedic roles. The film is representative of the creative energy found in Hong Kong's cinematic landscape during the 1990s, when filmmakers and actors were not afraid to experiment with genre-blending narratives.

For fans of Stephen Chow, Karen Mok, and Yat-Fei Wong, as well as aficionados of Hong Kong cinema and genre mashups, Out of the Dark serves as a showcase of talent and a testament to the inventive storytelling and off-the-wall humor that contributed to the zeitgeist of the era's film industry. It's a boisterous, bizarre, and ultimately heartfelt entry into the filmography of its star-studded cast.

Out of the Dark is a 1995 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 26 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8.

Out of the Dark
Where to Watch Out of the Dark
Out of the Dark is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon, Google Play and YouTube VOD. Some platforms allow you to rent Out of the Dark for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 26 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.8  (2,805)