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London Film Festival Review: Andrew Cumming’s ‘The Origin’

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The Highlands of Scotland are the perfect backdrop for Andrew Cumming’s prehistoric genre piece The Origin, a survivalist horror that also works as a thoughtful human drama as its core cast of six fight for their lives against a violent, unseen creature.

The Origin had its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival. The setting is 45,000 years ago, and a landing party led by Adem (Chuku Modu) washes up at the shore of what they hope to be the promised land.

It is, however, a false dawn: the soil is barren, and the group needs to stay on the move if they are to survive. But as they do so, the terrain becomes more forbidding — wide open plains and claustrophobic forests —and something terrifying is on their trail, making nightfall especially tense.

There are plenty of parallels with other movies, notably John Carpenter’s The Thing, but The Origin goes much further in its world-building, having its characters speak a strange guttural language (actually a mix of Arabic and Basque).

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