Movie Review: ‘Lights Out’July 21, 2016 at 2:38 pm | Posted in Miscellaneous | Leave a comment
Keep the lights OUT!
The story behind Lights Out’s production and release is one of excitement and wonder. The concept was created by the movie’s first time director, David Sandberg, as an entry into a short horror film competition. The short film won the competition, and it was eventually recognized by a modern horror guru, James Wan (Saw, Insidious, The Conjuring) and the rest of Hollywood. A movie deal was made, and now here we are. As an aspiring film student, Sandberg being recognized and plucked from obscurity to direct this feature based on his own story is definitely heartwarming. And not only does Sandberg prove to be a master of horror is in his right with Lights Out, but he proves to be a very skilled and nuanced story teller.
First things first just to get this out there: the use of lighting in this movie is truly superb, which is only fitting and to be expected with the movie’s premise. The concept is this: Rebecca (played to perfection by Teresa Palmer), her boyfriend Bret (a good hearted portrayal by Alexander DiPersia) and her younger brother Martin (surprisingly played with enjoyable intensity by child actor Gabriel Bateman) are being haunted by a mysterious entity known simply as Diana, who can only be seen (as well as only can attack) in the dark. To complicate matters for the siblings, Diana has a mysterious connection to their mother Sophie (Again played to perfection, by Maria Bello) who is a struggling manic depressive.
Diana is a not-so-subtle but excellently used metaphor for depression, and how it can essentially haunt someone, or a group of someones. The amount of depth and character moments that exist in this movie based around that metaphor is staggering, essentially for a modern horror movie. The detail and care put into each character – especially Teresa’s Rebecca and Maria’s Sophie – is touching and moving, and add considerable weight to the action scenes when our heroes face off against Diana.
Modern horror movies, more times than not, typically rely on big scares that can be showcased in movie trailers to sell tickets, and not much else. The plot and characters are typically – or at least seemingly – cobbled together around a few jump scare moments and action scenes in a Fast and the Furious kind of way, which leaves so much to be desired in the movie itself. Lights Out doesn’t have that problem. There are characters you care about, relationships you care about, and stakes to be had that make you root for these people. Yes, Diana is scary and the frightening scenes are truly masterfully done, but what makes it scarier than a typical horror movies is that Sandberg makes you care about these characters. So when something evil is happening to them, you are scared not only because of the mechanics or content in the scene, but because you truly want these characters to be alright. That’s something rare these days, I feel.
Sandberg did a wonderful job with this movie, and the amount of care and sophistication in almost every aspect of its development shines through. There is a scene towards the end involving the light emitted from bullets being shot from a gun that is hands down one of my favorite moments from a horror movie ever. Overall, I really can’t pick apart anything in the movie. There isn’t one negative part to it, at least not that I see.
I highly recommend everyone to see it, and I award the movie five out of five metal bikinis.