Lights Out has the perfect premise for a horror movie, and definitely delivers on it!
I loved the short film Lights Out that this new feature film is based on. That’s probably also why I was very happy when it was confirmed that the short film director, David F. Sandberg, would get his feature film debut with this movie. Also, we know from the trailer that the star of the short film, Lotta Losten, is also part of the Lights Out movie as a great tribute to the original story.
However, the people behind this movie are anything but newcomers. One of the greatest current horror masters, James Wan, is producing, which in itself means this is no small horror movie. And not only is Lights Out blessed with having a perfect horror premise that centers on a fear of the dark – or rather, what lurks around in the darkness – it also delivers on it in a pretty damn perfect way.
There’s the most intense horror coming through both the visual side, and the sound does everything right to take everything up an extra notch. Or ten! And oh yeah, there’s a whole slew of amazing jump scares, but don’t worry, it’s never just for effect since they all tie in so smoothly with the story development.
Of course, the script for Lights Out was also written by a man very familiar with iconic horror movies. His name is Eric Heisserer and he’s practically made a career out of writing scripts for reboots of cult horror movies such as The Thing and A Nightmare on Elm Street (even if those reboots weren’t without their own issues). Also, he wrote the script for Final Destination 5 so he’s not all about reboots, but he is good at doing adapted screenplays based on other movies – or short films as it’s the case with Lights Out. I for one certainly think this is the one his name should be associated with in the future!
When it comes to this feature film version of Lights Out, the cast and setting are pretty sparse – just as it was the case with the short film, though not quite to that extent. However, the actors in this movie are so damn on point that it would’ve been a shame to introduce more characters. Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies) is the primary lead and she works perfectly as the driving force for the plot. Still, I definitely want to also mention Gabriel Bateman (Annabelle), who breaks your heart in his portrayal of her little brother.
This little kid wants to be safe but is also so concerned with looking out for their mom, that he’s ready to compromise on that. And their mom is portrayed by the amazing Maria Bello (Prisoners), who is the emotional center of the plot. Also, I have to mention that casting Bello and Palmer as mother and daughter is pretty damn genius because they really do seem to have a genetic connection visually.
Oh yeah, and just like in any good horror movie that has most of the horrors take place in one particular spot, the house itself is almost its own character in Lights Out. Somehow it seems to function as both an emotional prison and a safe zone for the various characters.
After having watched the short film Lights Out – many times, in fact – and finding the trailers for this feature film to be very effective, I was nervous that maybe my expectations for Sandberg’s feature film debut had gotten too great. Fortunately, it turns out there was no reason to doubt this, and now I’m really looking forward to Annabelle 2, which Sandberg will also be directing. It seems he also impressed James Wan more than enough with his work on this movie.
Lights Out is damn near the perfect horror movie. Completely its own and filled to the brim with intense darkness and fear. Fortunately, it premiered during the summer when there’s a lot more daylight. In fact, they’re only a few hours of actual darkness in the span of a day here in Scandinavia, where I’m living. Still, I have no problem admitting that I’ll be keeping a flashlight on my nightstand for a while. Oh yeah, Lights Out definitely tapped into my fear of the dark. And yeah, I freakin’ loved it!
Lights Out is out in movie theaters on July 22, 2016.
Director: David F. Sandberg
Writer: Eric Heisserer (based on the short film by David F. Sandberg)
Cast: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Maria Bello, Alexander DiPersia, Billy Burke, Lotta Losten
When her little brother, Martin, experiences the same events that once tested her sanity, Rebecca works to unlock the truth behind the terror, which brings her face to face with an entity that has an attachment to their mother, Sophie.
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