When Rebecca left home, she thought she left her childhood fears behind. Growing up, she was never really sure of what was and wasn’t real when the lights went out…and now her little brother, Martin, is experiencing the same unexplained and terrifying events that had once tested her sanity and threatened her safety. A frightening entity with a mysterious attachment to their mother, Sophie, has reemerged. But this time, as Rebecca gets closer to unlocking the truth, there is no denying that all their lives are in danger…once the lights go out.
Young Martin (Gabriel Bateman) lives alone with his mom Sophie (Maria Bello). His father has just been killed (in a truly unsettling opening sequence). He also realizes his mom is talking to an unseen friend. He’s creeped out and can’t sleep at night. His older sister Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) finds out what’s happening and remembers that she went through the same thing as a child. She tries to discover what her mom is talking to and where it comes from.
The story is kind of vague but it works while you’re watching it. It’s well-directed and has OK acting by the small cast. It zips along and runs only 81 minutes. There are more than a few scary sequences and it all leads up to a violent and frightening final battle. Also the climax actually surprised me and was quite effective. And there’s no room left for a sequel! Worth seeing.
Lights Out takes some queues from Japanese-styled ghost stories, so it will be attractive to that audience. It has a strong chill-factor but a somewhat average formula, and it could have used fewer back-story explanations to make it more mysterious, especially since those elements did not feel original.
Based on chill factor alone, it ranks higher than Dark Water, The Forest, Paranormal Activity, The Others, The Babadook, and The Boy, and lower than The Ring, Ju-On / The Grudge, and other Japanese-styled ghost stories, as well as any horror James Wan himself directs. Comparing it to masterpieces like The Exorcist and Poltergeist has no value.
I would say its chills rank somewhat evenly with The Woman in Black and It Follows, without being as original as the latter.
The ghost itself is creepy enough, but the overall movie didn’t have the creative twists that we enjoyed from movies like The Boy, The Others, The Sixth Sense, and 10 Cloverfield Lane. It also didn’t have the storytelling chemistry of James Wan’s own Insideous or The Conjuring movies.
I am a fairly difficult person to frighten. I have been seeing horror movies at the theater since the 70’s, and I am usually only interested in the ones that have a supernatural or fantastical element to them. So I am very critical of them, and the only ones I collect on disc are either fun (Tremors), scary (the Grudge), or both (An American Werewolf in London). I will collect this one.
Ghost stories are done to death. It is very difficult to come out with anything scary that is original. I think Lights Out could have used the guided hand of a third-party master horror writer, mostly revising the back-story revelations and using the character relationships to build suspense and mystery surrounding what is going on. Then, perhaps working up to a punch line at the end so that suddenly the back- story rushes in on the audience in one moment, with one simple revelation. It is very difficult to think of how that can be done, but other movies have done it, and the payoff is huge.
I think Lights Out tried to do that a little but got confusing in the attempt.
But all-in-all it’s a nice little scary movie with a smaller production value but a satisfying ghost.
Going into this movie I expected much less than what the typical horror movie Genre is today in this generation. Well I will be damned!!! I had tickets to go see an early screening of this movie and let me tell you from Men to Women everyone was tense in the audience. Lots of people jumping in their seats and screams as well. This movie hit the spot from the acting which was sub-par from the evil entity. I give this movie a 10 out of 10. Most people should really give it a try it is worth the money for sure. The film is only 85 minutes which was a downfall but I will take it versus a 2 hour horror movie that is boring till no end. If the media is calling Conjuring 2 horror then Lights Out must be in a different horror category because it is def. SCARY!!!!
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