Lights Out tells the tale of an unknown brand of evil that manifests in total darkness. A young woman named Rebecca learns that her younger brother is experiencing the same strange and mysterious goings on she encountered in her childhood. Whatever evil latched onto Rebecca as a youngster has now attached itself to her little brother. And the only way she can stop it and protect her loved ones is by facing it head on.
Lights Out is directed by relative newcomer David F. Sandberg. It is based on his short of the same name. Sandberg has garnered a lot of attention for his short projects but this marks his feature film directorial debut. And I must say that it is an impressive one at that. Sandberg shows great promise as a filmmaker and clearly proves that he has a knack for keeping his audience on edge. Although there are certainly jump scares prominently featured, they are only there to help support the mounting sense of dread the viewer is surely feeling.
What makes Lights Out stand out as more than just an atmospheric supernatural thriller is that it deals with much heavier issues than most theatrically released, PG-13 horror films. Mental illness is at the forefront of the storyline and it is portrayed as just as ugly and menacing as it actually is. The central antagonist is intended as a metaphor for mental illness. And while it may be a little on the nose, it works.
Lights Out stars Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Billy Burke and Maria Bello. The cast is surprisingly likable. It’s quite refreshing to find a horror film with characters more identifiable than what we’re accustomed to. Rebecca (Teresa Palmer of Warm Bodies) is so easy to relate to. She’s an outsider and she’s into the macabre. What horror fan can’t relate to not quite fitting in and being fascinated by that which is not considered normal? It’s unfortunate that we don’t see more characters like her in widely released horror titles. Rebecca has a tough exterior but it’s obvious that she projects that outward image to mask her vulnerability. That makes her easy to relate to and easy to warm up to. Alexander DiPersia (I Am Legend) is also great as Rebecca’s sort-of boyfriend. Not to mention, Gabriel Bateman (Annabelle) is excellent as Rebecca’s little brother, Martin.
The home video release of Lights Out includes deleted scenes and a digital copy of the feature. The picture and sound quality are perfectly satisfactory.
Lights Out is now available on DVD, Blu-Ray, and Digital HD from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment. Definitely give it a shot if you have not done so already. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
WICKED RATING: 7/10
Director(s): David F. Sandberg
Writer(s): Eric Heisserer (screenplay), David F. Sandberg (based on the short film by)
Stars: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Alexander DiPersia, with Billy Burke and Maria Bello
Release: October 25, 2016
Studio/ Production Co: Warner Brothers Home Entertainment
Budget: $4.9 Million (estimated)
Sub-Genre: Supernatural Horror