Lights Out (2016)

lights out movie poster
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Does some interesting and new things

A few horror cliches

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Lights Out

Studio:  New Line Cinema

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s): June 8, 2016 (Los Angeles Film Festival)/July 22, 2016 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

lights out diane warehouse scene

Lesson Learned: Pony up the money for more lights at your warehouse

Martin (Gabriel Bateman) knows something is wrong with his mother (Maria Bello).  After the death of her second husband (Billy Burke), she barely leaves the house and is visited by a strange woman named Diana that Martin cannot see.  When he finally does see Diana, he realizes the problem is much worse than he thought.  Seeking out his sister Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) and her boyfriend Bret (Alexander DiPersia), Martin finds he cannot be alone in the dark or Diana will come for him.  Rebecca always thought Diana was her imagination…now Rebecca, Martin, and Bret must uncover the truth about Diana before she gets them when the lights go out.

Directed by David F. Sandberg, Lights Out is a horror film.  The movie is based on his short movie also called Lights Out which was made in 2013.  The low budget film was met with positive reviews and a strong box office return.

lights out diane monster gabriel bateman maria bello

I don’t care what you say, Mom…I’m not calling her “Aunt Diane”

The summer of 2016 was the year of simple titled horror.  Lights Out and Don’t Breathe both were released to positive reviews and strong box office returns, and I kind of confused the both titles.  With little knowledge of what the movie was about, Lights Out turned out to be a fun ride which did break some of the horror clichés.

The core story for Lights Out is probably the weakest part of the movie, but it plays out in a way that is different than most horror movies which turns the weaknesses around.  The whole back story of Diana is kind of dumb with the supernatural electric chair death, etc.  That is below the rest of the movie (and I kind of kept expecting a switch that Diana was never real).  The movie gets past this cliché with a strong family story that also has characters behaving more realistic.  When Bret is attacked, he runs…and gets the police…who come.  In a regular horror movie, Bret wouldn’t come back or the police wouldn’t respond.  It was little, simple writing switch ups like this that left you unsure how the plot would go…and that is a good thing.

The cast is also pretty strong.  Maria Bello was rather underused as the mother, but Teresa Palmer held her own as the daughter.  Gabriel Bateman didn’t play the typical kid in a horror movie role but Alexander DiPersia was kind of the typical perfect (hipster) boyfriend.

lights out diane monster black light

Diane is best at black-light raves!

The movie also benefits from a monster that is quite scary.  Diana lurks in the shadows due to the plot and the black light was a great twist to help out the visuals.  Scenes like the flashing sign and the gun flashes look great and ratchet up the horror…making Lights Out a great monster movie.

PG-13 horror can be the best or the worse, and Lights Out is one of the best.  With PG-13, the movie has to go for smarter scares, and Lights Out succeeds.  The movie has problems, but it does do things differently than you’d expect and keeps you on edge with a great creature.  The movie’s positive response has already led to plans for a sequel, but the sequel has never developed…or seen the light of day.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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