Release Date: July 22, 2016
Running Time: 1 hour and 21 minutes
Directed By: David F. Sandberg
Every time I turn off the lights, there’s this woman waiting in the shadows.
In a dimly lit warehouse, Paul is working late so he calls home to check on his son, Martin, who reports that his mother has been acting strangely. Before Paul can leave, he is attacked by an ominous creature in the shadows. His newly widowed wife and mother of Martin, Sophie, declines even further into insanity. When Sophie begins to openly talk about the creepy figure that keeps him awake at night whom she calls Diana, he runs away to stay with his older half-sister Rebecca with hopes that he will get a good night’s sleep. Rebecca left home as soon as she could after her father left her and her Sophie so she has been estranged from her mother for over a decade. Rebecca’s love for her brother convinces her to change her lifestyle but Child Protective Services caseworker, Emma, arrives at her door to return Martin to Sophie. With growing concern for the welfare of Martin, Rebecca and her boyfriend (Bret) go to her mother’s house where Rebecca finds Paul’s research into the history of Sophie’s mental illness. As Rebecca learns of her mother’s friendship with a very unusual girl named Diana who died at a mental institution, Sophie’s struggle to protect her children becomes her reality.
Everyone is afraid of the dark and that is what she feeds on.
Hold on, I need to turn on a few more lights to share my thoughts on this film. The master of horror movies, James Wan, produces one of this year’s most creative supernatural thrillers. Opening with the actress from David F. Sandberg‘s 2014 Fright Meter Award winning short for Best Short Horror film, Lights Out leaps out the gate with a truly horrifying sequence. In Sandberg’s feature film debut, the cast’s performances light up the big screen with the young Gabriel Bateman standing out amongst his cast members who also shined. Sandberg’s use practical effects instead of CGI, jump scare tactics, and ingenious use of authentic lighting also heightened the audience’s reaction to his efforts. While the screenplay lacked the dazzling storytelling that I’ve become used to in a James Wan film, it did leave me looking over my shoulder whenever a light bulb flickers. What left me in the dark was the back story of the entity. One could assume that Diana manifested due to an evil influence before her demise, yet the use of 8mm like flashbacks to relay that back story was somewhat rushed so the mystery of her origin didn’t feel as authentic to me as the rest of the film. What Eric Heisserer’s, screenplay writer, and Sandberg’s story did do well was to illuminate the overall experience when scratching out the conclusion of 81 minute nail biting story. Grab your popcorn, keep the light’s out but grab a flash light when you head into the theater to see this one! ~Movie Buffette
Teresa Palmer as Rebecca
Gabriel Bateman as Martin
Alexander DiPersia as Bret
Billy Burke as Paul
Maria Bello as Sophie
Alicia Vela-Bailey as Diana
Andi Osho as Emma
Lotta Losten as Esther