Lights Out (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


Lights_Out_2016_posterFrom Producer James Wan, the director of ‘The Conjuring‘ and ‘Insidious‘, brings us a new twist in horror with first time Director David Sandberg in ‘Lights Out‘. As Martin begins to develop fears of the dark he turns to his sister Rebecca as their mom grows more unstable due to her depression. We learn that a shadowy figure named Diana is living in the dark and was a friend of their mother Sophie when both were in a mental facility as kids. After suffering from a rare skin disorder and the doctor’s failed attempts to treat Diana’s condition it takes a turn for the worse. Now Diana is preying on Sophie’s family and will go at nothing to have all but Sophie to herself. The film stars Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Alexander DiPersia, and Maria Bello.

This was one of those films that could’ve been a straight rip-off of ‘Darkness Falls‘ (2003) or Robert Harmon’sThey‘ (2002), but instead we get an inventive take on many people’s worst fears of being afraid of the dark. A nail biter is an understatement as David Sandberg focuses on the light and how terrifying it would be if something was living in the shadows. My overall impressions of the film was that it was excellent and had a well-rounded cast that not only served for the purposes of the movie but also gave us reasons for caring for the characters as well. Never was the movie dull nor did it skip a beat as it followed a tight pace in its 82 minute runtime.

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As we mentioned before, what many horror films lack is in character development. Rather in ‘Lights Out‘ everyone plays a contributing role to where we end up caring for all of them in some way. The movie also does a good job of following the mom played by Maria Bello and her daughter Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) when both of them go back and forth when it came to the safety and concerns of Martin. Seeing from each vantage point and how screwed up the family has been over the years you could only but appreciate the balance in their development as characters. Which then leads us into the shadowy figure herself, Diana, who without giving anything away plays an integral part with Sophie. Diana is also just a freakishly looking entity with an interesting backstory that can only be haunting from first glance.

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The movie is well-paced with one of the best opening sequences that will surely get under your skin. It had me in suspense from the very beginning and didn’t let up until the very end. Just the idea of Sandberg exploring the dark and by creating a compelling story to go along with it is a testament to film makers in the genre of horror. It’s no surprise that he got a little help by James Wan who is currently the go to guy for horror movies and has a way of using audiences fears as we’ve seen in his past films. Every time you’d have a character play with the light and seeing Diana from one moment to the next was terrifying only because you didn’t know where she’d be the moment the light went back on. The thought of what you cannot see is just as frightening of what you can see.

Being that this is David Sandberg’s first feature length movie he did an incredible job. Not only did ‘Lights Out‘ keep you on the edge of your seat but you also were able to care for everyone as well. The performances by Teresa Palmer and Gabriel Bateman were great along with a minor role of Alexander DiPersia, who as Rebecca’s boyfriend, brought some comic relief when needed. That was something that worked to its benefit as well when there were funny moments to help ease the tension when Diana would run amok. Best thing to do is to go into the movie with very little knowledge or exposure to the trailer. If you want to freak people out who haven’t heard of ‘Lights Out‘ then you’ll definitely want to take this ride.

Rating: 8/10

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What do you guys think of ‘Lights Out‘? Are you planning to go watch the movie? Comment below and share your thoughts.

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