Sunday, October 30, 2016

Film Review: Lights Out (2016)

Lights Out (Review)
United States/2016
Format Viewed For Review: FandangoNow
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"It felt like an early 2000s movie, following the same steps of its predecessors without even glancing at any other paths."

Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) must face a malevolent entity that lingers in the dark when said entity targets her younger brother, Martin (Gabriel Bateman)…

Lights Out is a basic horror film – as in, it covers most of the same bases of other horror movies. The film follows Rebecca, the generic character with commitment issues. She receives a call from school and finds that her brother, Martin, hasn't been sleeping. Why? Well, he's being disturbed by an entity named "Diana," who has been tormenting their mother. So, the siblings, along with Rebecca's boyfriend, work to stop the entity. There's a little more to the story, including a little background for Diana, but that's about it. The plot is thin. Fortunately, at approximately 75-minutes without credits, it doesn't over-stay its welcome by too much.


Lights Out is a fun and simple horror film. It is the what the Blockbuster movie is to the action genre – a movie you watch for fun. I guess it's pretty close to a movie like Insidious – jump-scares, a tormented family, and an evil entity that has latched onto said family. However, I'd say Insidious was much more creative and even more thought-out, especially in terms of plot. Aside from its generic characters and thin plot, Lights Out is also hindered by its one-note horror. You remember that awesome short film from 2014? Well, this film recycles that same jump-scare over and over – and over. It has a few 'different' jump-scares, but they're really just variations of the same thing. It's not the worst thing that could happen, but, along with its other issues, it makes this film a bit less memorable.

The acting was solid, though. Teresa Palmer performs well as the leading lady. Although his dialogue felt off for a child, Gabriel Bateman also performed well. The supporting cast was also strong. The film was shot well and the music fit the tone of the film. It's not stellar on the technical side, but it definitely wasn't bad. The film was directed by David F. Sandberg and written by Eric Heisserer. Like I said, the story wasn't exactly bad, it just felt hollow and underwhelming. It felt like an early 2000s movie, following the same steps of its predecessors without even glancing at any other paths. Sandberg is a strong director, though. He knows how to craft moderate suspense. However, if he plans on relying on jump-scares, I hope he has a few more tricks up his sleeve.

Overall, Lights Out is a good movie. It has its fair share of flaws, but it is also entertaining. It's a great time killer, too. If you loved the short movie, which is great, then you'll probably like this film. I hope to see more from Sandberg – especially if he escapes his comfort zone.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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