When, in 2013, without a big budget, David Sandberg released a short film of the same name, ‘Lights Out’, it was more than obvious that in this short film, which was named the best short film at the Bilbao Fantasy Film Festival in 2014, there is room for creating something bigger that will definitely resonate among horror fans and leave a mark in the horror world.
You may even remember that movie when a woman turns off the light in the hallway and at that moment a strange creature appears and it starts to haunt her. Conceptually, this film is a bit reminiscent of “Darkness Falls” from 2003, when the evil tooth fairy appears only in the dark, but the premise resembles paranormal films that have emerged in recent years, but this movie is different because this paranormal creature seems more real.
A simple, but again very creepy and interesting idea, caught the eye of the famous producer James Wan, who joined forces with Sandberg and made the feature film ‘Lights Out’.
Now that he had the full support of studio shooting, Sandberg decided to make the best use of the idea on which the three-minute film rests, but also to add some other creepy and offensive elements, so that the whole film retains the creepy.
Rebecca is a young girl who left her mother who has mental problems, after her father left them. When she finds out that her younger half-brother has lost his father, she decides to bring him home, which drives her mother crazy. However, Becca learns that her brother cannot sleep at night, because of Diana, who also persecuted her when her father left her. To find out who Diana really is, she sets off in search with her brother and boyfriend to discover truth, but what she didn’t expect is that Diana is connected to her mother Sophie.
Looking at the plot itself, the viewer is explained in a very clear way where the character of the creepy woman comes from and why she is around the people she attacks. Definitely too much explanation makes the film and the negative less mysterious and even scary.
Sandberg pays too much attention to Diana’s history and the nature of her existence on this side. We learn (caution: mild “spoilers”) that Diana, a “disappearing woman,” once had a skin disease and hung out with Sophie when they were both in a mental institution, the latter due to depression. Sophie is today “the only bond Diana has with this world”. “There’s no you without me,” Sophie explains.
There are tense parts, but the plot could have been more creative. The main problem of the film may be that it does not avoid some clichés.
Rebecca’s cry of “Don’t turn off the lights” is the norm of the film as the heroine arms herself with ultraviolet lamps, candles, etc. or even suggests to her little brothers to light a fire, all to keep Diana away from her. Against the darkness and Diana, all the lights, car headlights and the screen on the iPhone come in handy, although the protagonists must count on their crackling, flickering candle flames and power outages, as well as rescuers who go into the dark with clichéd “I’ll be right back.”
Lights Out “was actually created to ignite in the viewer the most widespread phobia with which many can identify. Darkness is an unknown in which something is hidden, and the imagination itself will do the rest. We will imagine the most terrible thing that comes out of our subconscious, and that we will panic.
There is no horror film in the history of cinema that does not rely on fears of darkness and that does not let go of horror from the chain when night falls or the lights go out. Because, they taught us from a young age, just then monsters (ghosts, demons, vampires, werewolves …) come out of the dark. That’s why we sleep with the lights on like children or turn them on just after a nightmare to make sure there’s no one in the room and that “the ghosts aren’t real”.
When it comes to actors Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Alexander DiPersia and Maria Bello have done a solid job. Nothing special or without some flaw.
Comparing Lights out with other films of the same genre the film isn’t really bad. Assemble a team, organize a movie night and watch it. It is good for such situations.
Rating on IMDb.com is 7.7 / 10 and on Tomatoes 82%.