Feature Film: The Origin (2022)
Directed by Andrew Cumming
Produced by Oliver Kassman
Escape Plan, BFI, Screen Scotland, Protagonist, Animal Kingdom
In the Stone Age horror movie “The Origin,” a tribe of starving homo sapiens must fight for survival in early Britain. It’s a film set 45,000 years ago, but its message about humanity — told through a genre lens — is as dark as it is timeless.
Directed by Scottish helmer Andrew Cumming (“Radiance,” “Clique”) and written by Ruth Greenberg (“The Spark”) in both of their feature debuts, the film — produced by “Saint Maud’s” Oliver Kassman — is launching at the BFI London Film Festival on Thursday with three sold-out screenings.
Shot on location in 2020 in the Scottish Highlands, the story follows a group of early humans looking for food and shelter in a new land. They subscribe to their leader’s promise of a better life, but find themselves in a dangerous terrain, where they’re preyed upon by a supernatural force. The cast includes Safia Oakley-Green, Kit Young and Chuku Modu.
One only has to utter “Stone Age horror” and most people are instantly curious: There’s an innate fascination about the Palaeolithic period, but combined with the playground of horror, “The Origin” is as interesting as it is ambitious. Adding to the film’s authenticity is the use of a bespoke language called “Tola,” which was developed especially for the project.
“The Origin” is produced by Escape Plan’s Kassman, executive produced by David Kaplan and Sam Intili on behalf of New York’s Animal Kingdom (“It Follows,” “Short Term 12”), in co-production with Scottish producer Wendy Griffin of Selkie Productions (“Calibre”), with financing from Screen Scotland and the BFI. Protagonist Pictures is selling the film in the U.S. and U.K., with Sony handling distribution in all other territories.