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Lights Out - Warner Bros. Print E-mail
User Rating: / 4
Written by Chris K.   
Thursday, 29 September 2016


Directed by: David F. Sandberg
Written by: Eric Heisserer
Produced by: James Wan, Lawrence Grey, Lloyd Everard, Eric Heisserer, Lawrence Kao, Cyrus Mojibi, Zak Olkewicz, Patrick Wade
Cinematography by: Marc Spicer
Editing by: Michel Aller, Kirk M. Morri
Special Effects by: Mark R. Byers
Music: Benjamin Wallfisch
Cast: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Alexander DiPersia, Billy Burke, Maria Bello, Alicia Vela-Bailey, Andi Osho
Year: 2016
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 1h 21min

Distributor: Warner Bros.

The horror genre is arguably one of the most respected film genres of all time. It is no wonder all we get are remakes or cash grabbing sequels, which rely on cheap jump scares and terrible CGI. The genre has become very repetitious. So much so, that horror films that actually attempt to master originality, fall short and go unseen.

The final straw, for my review of Lights Out was not the fact that James Wan had his name attached to this project. The short film which inspired this blockbuster hit was amazing. David F. Sanberg was brought on-board to direct the feature film, based on his short. Which to me, I find it to be magnificent that a newcomer to the genre was allowed to direct his short film into a major Hollywood production.

With a full length feature film under his belt, Sanberg delivers an ultimate scare-fest and a great tale of the macabre. The film follows a sister and brother, played by Teresa Palmer (Hacksaw Ridge) and Gabriel Bateman (Annabelle). The two siblings find out that their mother's mental illness is something very sinister and, you guessed it, supernatural, which begins to stalk the family. Sandberg and fellow screenwriter Eric Heisserer really flesh out this short film, into a full-fledged horror tale. They really utilized and worked together as a team, to deliver a fresh concept and not necessarily rehash the exact scares from the short.

The scares are used by shadows, practical affects and sound design, and are not overly played or cheap like most paranormal PG-13 films. The lack of lighting really helps aid to the menacing creature that in the film is named “Diana.” Diana was truly a menacing and frightening villain who simply wants to harm and does not care who or what is in her presence. I, being often tired of paranormal films, had to take a double look at my shadow after leaving the packed cinema.

The scares in Lights Out will satisfy even the slightest of film-goers because it all feels fresh and authentic. It also dives into mental illness and really shines on the light on illnesses and the performances do not feel forced. Maria Bello (A History of Violence) and Palmer both have a lot of mental issues in the film, but their performances -- all the way to the screenwriter, to even how similar they look -- really makes it feel fresh and original that characters in a paranormal film were actually characters and expanded. The cast in this movie is more than just a dead body to a pissed off ghost. You actually care for them.

The trailers and the runtime for the film should definitely not turn away people at all. Lights Out was finally a great take on a simple short story and it did disappoint at all. Sanberg is a fantastic director and I am immensely looking forward to what will come out of the woodwork next. Especially with his sequel to Annabelle, titled simply, Annabelle 2. I highly recommend this film, with the Lights Out!





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