In Out of the Blue, director Robert Sarkies chronicles the 1990 Aramoana massacre that ripped apart a peaceful New Zealand town. Other parts of the world might have violence and murder, but in this small coastal town where everyone knew everyone else, the worst the local police department had ever had to deal with was small-time break-ins and attacks on sheep by wild dogs. This was a community where children roamed freely on their bikes, neighbors helped neighbors build their houses, and doors were never locked. The town's innocence was forever lost November 13 and 14, 1990, when local resident David Gray (played here by Matthew Sunderland), known to everyone in Aramoana, went on a violent rampage, killing people he'd known and lived near all his life.
Sarkies brings us into the story on the morning of that fateful day, as parents sent children off to school and townsfolk went about their normal business. The camera's perspective takes us back and forth between the locals, the beauty of the pristine New Zealand setting, and the crumbling mind of a man on the brink of a murderous breakdown. The film is tautly directed, easing the audience into the languid pace of day-to-day life as it was in Aramoana before the shootings, and gradually increasing the tension as events progress.