very commendable fact about Lights Out is the story of how this movie actually came into being. And no, the story isn’t about how it is based on..*ahem ahem* ‘Real events’. Lights Out might be the beginning of the ‘Lights out’ franchise which started with a small 3 minute YouTube clip directed by a Swedish film maker named David F. Sandberg, by the same title ‘Lights out’ in 2013. His simple direction shows a woman alone in her apartment, and when she turns the lights out, guess what? A mysterious female figure appears. Turn the lights back on, and she disappears. Lights out.. and she’s there again. This short, budget less clip went viral being shared on Facebook, WhatsApp and other social media and got massive hits on YouTube. You can also watch this three minute clip in the link below:
Sandberg was pushed into the big league of directors by the Horror master James Wan who has movies such as ‘The Conjuring’, ‘Saw’ and ‘Insidious’ under his hat, and who also budgeted 5 million dollars for this movie.
The Storyline – Lights Out:
The story starts with Lotta losten(the same actress who starred in the short film) inside a gloomy textile mill where she comes across that same mysterious female figure. This scene ends with the factory’s owner Paul, lying dead on the floor. The story continues on about Paul’s surviving family: his mentally ill widow, Sophie (Maria Bello), his independently rebellious step daughter Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) and his young kid Martin (Gabriel Bateman).
Just before his death Paul face times his son, Martin inquiring about his wife’s health. His son fills him in, telling his father how she has gotten off her medicines and has been talking again to her imaginary friend, Diana. Her behavior has become so disturbing to the point where Gabriel’s School nurse has to contact his Half-sister Rebecca who is living on her own in a downtown apartment with her doofus Boyfriend, who also provides a bit of humor in these menacing circumstances.
Rebecca tries to get Martin to live with her, more so because she has had bad experiences in her childhood regarding Diana,which has estranged her from her mother. Sophie soon reclaims Martin back, and that is when Rebecca decides to return back to her gloomy house. Diana soon starts attacking, she is at her most powerful when the lights are out and feeds on Sophie’s disorientation. And when the lights come back on she can’t function anymore. After several Diana attacks Rebecca and Martin decide to take matters into their own hands.
Star Screen Presence:
Lights Out has found two powerful actresses in Palmer and Bella. They do an excellent job of showing how exactly does a mother-daughter relationship turns toxic. Palmer tackles the lead role well. Bello does a good job of gaining sympathy in acting out a pathetic and haggard character. Bateman as the concerned and jittery young kid. And also to be mentioned is Rebecca’s boyfriend played by Alexander DiPersia who draws out amusement and laughter in this movie.
The plot is well organized and follows a logical sequence, something which most horror movies lack. For example the cast is shown to venture into the scary and dark basement ONLY when the fuse box goes out. They aren’t shown to be dumb enough to go down just to explore what made the noise.
Direction and Special Effects:
Wan has proved in his debut feature length movie that he is capable of taking more projects and turning them into something worth watching. The special effects concerning Diana are executed well, with a few great scary jump scenes.
Although Lights Out is rated PG-13 but still parents need to know that a lot of violent scenes depicting blood, murder, suicide and death are shown, along with slightly inappropriate behavior and language.
I would easily award ‘lights out’ a solid 7.5/10. Also because of the disappointment I had to endure after ‘The Conjuring’ sequel. IMDB ratings for this movie are 6.9/10, which are pretty high for a horror movie.