The Babadook & Insidious had a baby and that lovely baby’s name is Lights Out.
I remember watching & loving director David F. Sandberg‘s short film of the same name a couple years ago and when I first heard it was going to receive the Hollywood full-length adaptation, hesitation immediately washed over me… I am ecstatic to say that hesitation was proven wrong because Lights Out is an incredible movie.
Lights Out tells the story of a dysfunctional family who faces an entity that only appears when the lights go out, as the title would suggest. I don’t wish to delve any deeper than that because I believe horror movies are best to go into relatively blind but I will say, the concept of Lights Out is incredibly intriguing and I was honestly captivated throughout the film. Teresa Palmer and Gabriel Bateman portray siblings and oh man, their acting and chemistry were amazing. Palmer specifically had the most to work with and I thought she did brilliantly: ranging from being a melancholic, cool cat to nailing those severely intense emotional moments that pulled at my heart strings a bit. The relationship between her & her boyfriend Bret (Brad?) played by Alexander DiPersia aka I-Swear-That-Is-Daario-Naharis was refreshing to see because he was not just a dumb dumb boyfriend that is placed there solely for pseudo-conflict for the main character and her family.
When it comes to the actual story & progression of events, I loved every single moment of this movie. Since the runtime is essentially an hour and a half, there is virtually no wasted dialogue which translates to every scene having some level of importance to them, there is incredible development to the characters throughout the movie AND, what is arguably the greatest aspect to it, you genuinely care for these characters and their well being. Why I appreciated this movie so much is because the filmmakers made an effort to flesh out the characters and have themes the audience can potentially relate to, like mental illness and an overwhelming need to protect the innocent. The psychological aspects to it enhanced the movie immensely and I loved the various explanations sprinkled throughout of how the mother’s illness affected her family. There was a history to this family that you felt immediately and wanted to see their story & relationship progress more and more! I wish they expanded a bit more on the mythos of the entity, however I was satisfied with its backstory and how it tied into the relationship with the family.
Now the horror aspect to it… There were a few moments that had the toes curling & hair on the back of the neck stand up. Now I’ve mentioned this before in past reviews that I’m not a huge fan of boomWHUPPAH-type jump scares unless they are done well. There are many instances of such scares in this movie however for me personally, they really worked to enhance the horror aspect to it. It is also a gorgeous looking movie, probably one of the best looking horror films I’ve seen, rivaling that of The Conjuring (2013). This movie is honestly worth watching for the beautiful looking scenes alone, credit due to cinematographer Marc Spicer… There is also a sequence during the final act involving the boyfriend and his brilliant utilization of light that caused me and the audience I was watching with to simply be in awe.
If you’re a fan of horror done with a story and characters you actually care about and want to feel invested in their world, check out Lights Out.
Lights Out receives 4.5/5 Matt Damon heads.