Lights Out (2016)


Eerie in places, down to most part it being a movie using a neat premise and a fear most people can identify and/or have been through. So, being scared of the dark and it’s terrors sat in a dark cinema makes for great harmony. Luckily no monsters stalked the screen letting me take in a so-so paranormal flick.

Young lad Martin (Gabriel Bateman) is getting little to no sleep and is concerned with his mum Sophie’s (Maria Bello) ‘friend’. Rebecca (Teresa Palmer), the older sister begins caring for Martin as she looks into who this shadowy Diana is. It becomes clear that the sinister presence acts in the dark unable to function in the light, perhaps the only saviour they have as Diana attacks the family.

Based on a 2013 short bearing the same name, also directed by David F. Sandberg, this as mentioned utilises on a simple phobia a lot of folk have – being afraid of the dark. From that point alone this movie is onto a winner, it just has to ensure it keeps that unnerving feeling alive and for the larger percentage it does so.

Sandberg knows just how to present his horror movie monster; Diana is tall, glaring eyes and spindly fingers but apart from that we rarely see much more which is great for us as the audience to build up apprehension and imagination of how bad she can be. The moments themselves where she appears and disappears as lights flick on and off are never tiresome, in fact they keep the movie stylish, inventive enough and hair-raising.

The only sour factors of the movie is surprisingly the threat never heightens. I never felt scared for any of the characters, not even Rebecca’s boyfriend Bret, who is introduced and written in a good way. The story isn’t thin but the fear for the figures involves is. Which is why there’s hardly any death in this movie because everyone seems to cope with the evil of Diana’s dingy destruction. She should be able to win easily though, I mean she can control the lights so why is she having such a hard time?

Cliche and convenience of handy black light aside, the plot is engaging enough to see you through the very short hour and twenty minute film. Rebecca and Bret have a nice thought out relationship with time even for a convincing living arrangement conversation near the beginning, Martin is the typical scared kid but wants to fight back in the way of looking after his mother and Sophie is on a slippery slope of nerves, depression and her narrative comes to a perfectly dark conclusion.

Teresa Palmer pulls a dramatic and brilliant performance out of the bag of horror tricks. She’s strong willed but not too strong that it’s ridiculous and her chemistry with Alexander DiPersia is grand. Maria Bello acts very off, shaky and emotional which of course works very well for her character’s state of mind. Gabriel Bateman is an okay child actor, some of his scowls feeling overly forced but on the whole he’s a believable presence.

Another addition to the horror genre of silly jump scares where the music/sound provides the bolt upright moment but a mildly nerve-rattling and effective trip into the dark nonetheless.



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