Lights Out (2016) Review

One from the to watch pile…
Lights Out (2016)

Lights Out Australian bluray cover


Film: In 2013, a short film called ‘Lights Out’ was shared over and over by various groups of horror fans I belong to on Facebook and other social media sources. This film, made by David F. Sandberg, was submitted to several horror movie competitions, and won Best Director at the Who’s There Film Challenge and Best Short at FANT Bilbao in 2014.

To date this film has had about 3.3 million views on YouTube, and even IMDB gives it a rating of 7.8/10: that’s a whole point MORE than Insidious. I suppose I’d better share the video here: Lights Out short film!

Go and watch it, I’ll be here when you come back.

….

So you’ve finally returned: watched the ‘ten best horror shorts’ parts 1 and 2 and a few funny cat videos did you?

Anyway, Sandberg has been given the occasion to turn his short into a feature film… and what a feature film it is! If this is an example of the quality of what he’ll be putting out, I’ll be watching every film he makes… though it’s been announced that he’ll be directing the sequel to the awful Annabelle, so maybe not EVERYTHING.

Our films starts with the horrible death of Paul (Billy Burke) whose wife, Sophie (Maria Bello) goes into a spiral of depression, a spiral she has encountered previously in her life on several occasions, which includes talking to herself, quite animatedly.

Lights Out: Gabriel Bateman and Maria Bello


Her son, Martin (Gabriel Bateman) is experiencing a few anomalies as well, including nocturnal visits from ‘Diana’, a spectre who can only be exposed in complete darkness, and disappears when the lights come on. 

Being kept awake at night in fear of ‘Diana’, Martin keeps falling asleep in class, and Child Protection Services are called. When his mother can’t be reached, his estranged half-sister, Rebecca (Teresa Palmer), is called to help, and when she sees Martin going through something very similar to a situation when her father left her mother, she decides to step in.

Lights Out: Teresa Palmer as Rebecca


It appears, though, that maybe ‘Diana’ is more than a fantasy, and her history intertwined with Sophie’s, but can the family survive her interference?

This movie is an excellent film, well acted and beautifully shot, and those who are regularly effected by Lewton’s Bus will spend their viewing attempting to avoid sharting. The appearance of Australian Teresa Palmer and a favourite of mine, Maria Bello (who played a similar role in the film The Dark) made me happy as well.

I also liked the fact that Sandberg was able to take his short and develop it into a cohesive, feature length (albeit only 80 minutes) film. This was done well by screenplay writer, Eric Heisserer, whose work I usual have little appreciation for as previous efforts by him that I am aware of are the Nightmare on Elm Street remake, and The Thing remake, prequel, sequel or whatever the hell that thing was. He also did Final Destination 5, so not a complete loss, but he has certainly redeemed himself with this script. It’s not a perfect script, and honestly the appearance of Diana in the main character’s lives is certainly steeped in Freddy Krueger’s lore. A non-horror fan may no see it, but a fan definitely will!

A special mention also has to go to the direction for the least annoying kid ever submitted to film!

All in all, even though I am not a fan of ghost/ demonic type films, I found this to be entertaining and well executed. 

Score: ***1/2

Australian bluray Lights Out menu screen


Format: This review was performed on the Australian, region B Bluray of the film which runs for about 80 minutes. It is presented in an equally amazing 2.40:1 image and DTS-HD Master Audio.

Score: *****

Extras: Deleted scenes which, honestly, the film is better off without!

Score: *

WISIA: I’m sure the jump scares will have lost their power, but the film was well acted, and well scary, so yeah, I’d give it another go.

Lights Out: crazy writing is never a good sign!

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