What is this, a very popular horror movie from 2016 that I have not seen yet? Is such a thing possible? Ancient Rabbit Reviews theorists say the answer is a resounding yes and point to this fucking movie as evidence. Lights Out is a bare-bones horror movie offering a lot of scares and absolutely nothing new. We will be following a young woman as she tries to save her family from an entity haunting them. Pretty classic stuff, you’ll have to admit. The movie opens with an effective and really creepy scene which I thought was a sign of better things to come.
Alas, mere moments after it was over we were back in the familiar waters of clumsy and stereotypical character-building. The acting wasn’t the best but then again the script was just plain old awful. Teresa Palmer was excellent as Rebecca and that’s about it. At this point, I should tell you that Lights Out is actually based on a highly successful short film. James Wan of his Saw, Insidious and The Conjuring fame, expressed doubts about the feature film adaptation but ultimately decided he’s in. The end result is a short (75 minutes) and messy movie saved by the scary scenes.
I mean, they should’ve just ditched the whole backstory and focused on the scares. I think that would make for a much, much better movie. Mostly because during the final third it became unintentionally hilarious. As you can already guess from the title, the entity hides in the dark. So, this means that you’re only safe while in light, just like in the 2000s movie Darkness Falls. On this note, I want you to pay close attention to the lighting in Lights Out. This element is oftentimes forgotten but plays a crucial role in the way the movie ultimately looks. I also appreciate the director’s resistance to the use of CGI. So, most of the effects you’re going to see in the movie are actually practical ones.
Are you afraid of the dark? Did you sleep with the lights on when you were a kid? I vividly remember the moment I stopped being afraid of the dark. I simply made peace with the fact that the monsters were going to eat me that night and that was it. The monsters didn’t eat me and I slowly forgot about the whole thing. However, it still happens that if I’m alone in the house and I watch a particularly nasty movie, I keep the lights on. It’s much easier that way than figuring out what the fuck is wrong with me.
Lights Out is a perfect example of a small (budget was just $5 million) horror movie punching way above its weight class, probably because of aggressive marketing and the James Wan sticker. It feels like an eighties movie, especially when you consider the silliness of the main story. So, if you’re looking for something to watch after this one, check out, for example, Shocker or Fright Night. Finally, I just want to add that this is a PG-13 movie featuring almost no graphic violence or gore.
Director: David F. Sandberg
Writers: Eric Heisserer, David F. Sandberg
Cast: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Maria Bello, Alexander DiPersia, Billy Burke
Fun Facts: David F. Sandberg is actually a Swedish filmmaker and he had to move to Hollywood in order to make this movie.