‘Lights Out’ Review

[Also Found on GIO.]


Dir. David F. Sandberg | Wr. Eric Heisserer and David F. Sandberg

PG-13 | 1H21M | Horror | 2016

Lights Out is far from the most heinous of horror masterpieces and also far from the least horrid of them all. Instead, it falls somewhere into that middle mushy category that is often forgotten over time, however much of a hit it was to begin with. By no means is the film terrible but by equal measure by no means is it groundbreaking or astounding. Even with almost an hour and a half of screen time, viewers may be bored in many instances as the pacing is often off-kilter at best.

As much as I would like to state otherwise, I’ve always had some small stigma where PG-13 horror films are concerned. Seeing as most directors find themselves limited in what they can and cannot do for effect in such films, I’ve rarely been satisfied by them. I’m proud to say Lights Out does deliver in that category, as predictable as the scares are and as laudably dumb as it characters may be at times. Such is the almighty curse of being a character in a modern horror film I suppose.

It has an original-ish plot I suppose for starters, although at many points it devolves into wandering about in the dark and throwing multiple close encounters of the dead kind at viewers for the sake of doing so. The cinematography is fairly standard for the most part although there are some great scenes- two of which I found particularly appealing, one featured early in the film following protagonist Rebecca’s (Teresa Palmer) father and the other utilizing a blacklight to great effect.

At times the acting isn’t the best, although perhaps that’s more of a testament to the characters themselves than the acting abilities of actors and actresses, or the writing of the script. The main attraction should rightfully be the thrill of the really good scares that are here and there, as well as the buildup in explanation of the mysterious Diana. While the “revelations” may be cliched at times and the moments of “normal life” in between the periods of crazy aren’t much fun to watch, the package as a whole is just short and sweet yet long enough to be entertaining and mostly worthwhile.

All in all, Lights Out is an enjoyable film to watch and a solid directorial debut from Sandberg. A six out of ten might seem average or even harsh, but I’d say it’s roughly a sixty-seven out of one hundred from me. Not bad at all.

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Milly Schmidt

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