David Sandberg’s horror-thriller “Lights Out” was promoted piggybacking the reputation of “The Conjuring” series director James Wan. The movie is produced under the roof of Atom Monster- the production house of James Wan. Hence, the expectations towards those sudden thrills of fear tend to exist but David Sandberg seems to have consciously avoided getting into that trap – good or bad? Depends on how you want your coffee to taste?
Definitely “Lights Out” is not one of those regular horrors with spooky characters popping up only with the purpose of filling screen time, scary sounds with no context or blood bath. The movie remains loyal to its script which was based on a three-minute micro movie by Sandberg himself. Eric Heisserer was assigned with a task of expanding a three- minute video to a fully blown 81-minute movie and it proved to be not a happy place to be in.
If not the regular horror, what is the movie about?
Horror movies are most commonly set with the premise of ‘revenge’. Revenge is the core of violence and gore which prompts the scare into human minds. But “Lights Out” takes the opposite route. This movie is about retention and obsession. In general terms, the movie is set up with a medical illness- where the daemon (is it?) is affected with the strange skin disease which makes her sensitive to light. The extra toppings on that are from the fact that she is abandoned and could get into the minds of people.
Diana (Alicia Vela-Bailey) is probably not the best daemon characters written. She can grow in size (due to the shadow of light), have sharp extended fingers (like Edward Scissorhands) and always seen as a silhouette but beyond that Diana do not have much to offer despite being the key central character.
The family- Sophie- Mother under psychological distress (Maria Bello), Rebecca – Daughter who had to confront on her own challenges only to come back to protect her mother (Teresa Palmer) and Martin – Younger brother who had to experience Diana first hand (Gabriel Bateman). But the most entertaining and engaging character that’s written – Bret (Alexander DiPersia). He has his moments of romance, followed by an encounter with a bizarre family but stays put only for the lady of his life. He gives you those moments of laughs and entertainment in the movie.
“Lights Out” is a non-traditional horror movie that works in flashes but never ties up as a big picture. There are few strokes that are gone missing and it is difficult to appreciate the canvas without noticing the missing pieces. It is definitely not the scariest movies that make you reach out for lights in the dark.
English | PG-13 | Horror | 81 Minutes | 22 July 2016
Director: David F Sandberg | Screenplay: Eric Heisserer | Music: Benjamin Wallfisch | Cinematography: Marc Spicer