"Lights Out"

Lights Out: A Shocking Good Movie You Didn’t See Coming

Shock Factor
Reader Rating1 Vote
Hit The Lights!
Unique, simple story and progression that makes sparseness a benefit
The lack of effects made for realistic horror that didn't feel cheap
Attempts depth that usual horror lacks by highlighting the struggles of mental illness (accompanied with great acting by Bello)
Trapped in the Dark
Exact abilities of the entity were unclear even at the end
The fun might wear out fast if you're looking for a variety of scares
Stronger characterization could have done a lot for the movie and its potrayal of mental illness

Based on David F. Sandberg’s short film that had the internet fearing the dark, the director makes his feature film debut with Lights Out. While the feature film itself delves more into the psychology, the original short features an interesting concept of an entity that appears only in the dark, making use of a very primal fear that many have.

Awesome, right? Well, while it made for a great, frightening short, I was initially weary and curious as to how a concept so simple and heavily reliant on anticipation and a shock factor, could be executed in a movie. I was pleasantly surprised.

The film has all the prerequisites of a classic horror movie: unsettling, large house; screechy music; disturbing background movements; and the long-limbed creature (that of course, has a habit of scratching on floorboards and leaving messages on walls). But what makes Lights Out stand out is that they are all very practically used.

Even then, conscious effort had been made to maintain the realism of horror tactics used: the ghost was not accompanied with tacky CGI, and the eerie atmosphere was maintained with lighting that was available to the characters in their houses – candles, lamps and even car headlights (hooray, no unrealistic, murderous red lights!).

The story follows Sophie, played by Mario Bello, depressed and traumatic, after her husband left mysteriously. She and her children are seemingly haunted by a being named Diana.

While the movie does possess all of the traits of classic horror, it does also deal with the recurring topic of mental illnesses in recent horror flicks–in this case, depression.

While the narrative is driven mostly by the younger characters, Sophie, Martin and boyfriend Bret (Alexander De Persia), they do occasionally slip-up and tend to display unrealistic behaviour highlighted by lines that are somewhat awkward and strained. Nevertheless, they make for interesting protagonists that have you rooting for them throughout.

The film has one or two questionable moments – like the inconsistent portrayal of the entity’s abilities, making it convenient for the protagonists when the story calls for it, and the ending itself feels a little conflicted, however, it still stands as a great movie and should definitely be watched.

Lights Out is now out in all theatres! Good luck…

Lights Out is an inspiriting lesson by David F. Sandberg on how to brilliantly recycle elements of horror that have been done to death.

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