Lights Out (2016)

4:36 PM

You were right to be afraid of the dark.
 Lights Out is the feature length directorial debut from David F. Sandberg who directed the viral short of the same name as this horror flick. The film stars Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies, The Choice), Gabriel Bateman (Annabelle), Maria Bello (Prisoners, A History of Violence) and Alexander DiPersia (Good Girls Revolt). "When her little brother, Martin, experiences the same events that once tested her sanity, Rebecca works to unlock the truth behind the terror, which brings her face to face with an entity that has an attachment to their mother, Sophie". The short of the same name was highly acclaimed, does the feature length version live up to the hype?

Another delayed review!? I'm afraid so. Once again, this isn't because the film was bad because I had a pretty negative experience watching the film due to fellow audience members (more on that later). Lights Out is a very well made horror film, you would never know this is a directorial debut! I haven't seen the original short so I can't comment on whether this is better but the film I saw was very solid. Like The Shallows, there really isn't too much to criticise except for the film feeling a little smaller and it just missing a few pieces that would glue everything together. It is also important to note that this flick is produced by James Wan - a man who can do no wrong, especially when it comes to horror. Lights Out is another win for Wan - he is building quite a strong bunch of films!

For most audiences, the most important deciding factor for whether they choose to watch Lights Out is how scary is it. Lights Out is a pretty scary horror film and is definitely one of the strongest of the year. There are plenty of jump scares that make it frightening but I think the whole concept is just very scary anyway. Darkness is a very common fear so I think it was clever for a horror film to make a whole story about a monster that lives in the darkness. The actual horror element 'Diana' was pretty creepy to look at - I definitely wouldn't want a silhouette like hers appearing in the middle of the night. Some of the ways the film used Diana were pretty clever - when gun shots are fired and she disappears and appears with the light is very cool. 

The only thing that has flaws is the narrative - it doesn't flow that well and the reveals are not as effective as they could have been. Even though it was interesting to find out more about Diana, I don't really think we needed to find much about Diana - most horror films would have kept the character ambiguous and maybe have given her a backstory in the second film - Lights Out is a low cost horror that has done solid business so a sequel is likely. I did think the ending was pretty good and tied together the whole 'drama' element of the film - at its heart, Lights Out is a horror-drama about a torn apart family and I thought the ending was a clever way to show that even though the family may not appear close, they are ultimately family and still have a bond. 

The performances in Lights Out are also strong. Teresa Palmer hasn't really made an impression on me in any of the films she has previously been in until now. I thought Palmer did a good job and her performance was definitely much stronger than your average horror performance! Maria Bello was also very good. However, praise must go to Gabriel Bateman who did an excellent job - yes, you read that right - a child actor in a horror film did a good job...that is rare! Bateman wasn't annoying and managed to avoid all of the usual negatives of kids in horrors - I was very impressed! 

Lights Out is another rare satisfying film of summer 2016 - it has been a disappointing one! Just behind The Conjuring 2, this is one of the best horrors of the year - filled with great performances and an interesting concept, the only flaw of Lights Out is the narrative that doesn't flow as well as it could. Diana is going to become another feared horror icon as this film certainly is scary! Lights Out shines. 


69
/100

So once again, my thoughts towards a pretty solid film skew a little more negative than they should and its because of...fellow audience members! Who would have thought that this would happen two times in a row. This time, it wasn't talking that was the problem, it was using phones! The majority of the film was pretty fine but guess when this person decides to start being distracting? As soon as the film reaches the climax - she accidentally turns her torch on so it shines and then she is on her phone for the next 5 minutes or so. People just need to start being much more respectful. Hopefully the next review I write will not have one of these mini rants at the end...


What did you think of LIGHTS OUT? What is your favourite horror film? - COMMENT BELOW

See You Soon!

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