When things go bump in the night and the amount of light is limited at best, your imagination plays tricks on you. Often we perceive the worst thing lurking in the shadows, waiting to wrap its tendrils, claws, or whatever appendage around your body and finish you off. Well a short film project by David Sandberg laid the groundwork for a major motion picture that plays off of that fear. Welcome to another Robbie’s movie reviews and today we focus on the latest horror film to grace the theaters entitled Lights out. Lets get started!
- The story
- Teresa Palmer
- The creepiness
Surprise, surprise, we actually have a horror movie with a plot this weekend. Lights out writers were able to craft a tale that had a little more depth than some of its fellow scare thrillers. One part digging into the past and another part progressing forward, Lights out does a nice job of balancing both sides of the coin during its short ninety minutes. The pace of the story is set nicely for most of the movie, though it does skip on the details sometimes that added the corny edge to it. For once, I wish the movie was a little longer so that we could explore a little more into the past (primarily Rebecca’s story). Those details could have added a little more depth and uniqueness to the tale and perhaps robbed the cheesiness we saw.
Fortunately, the lovely Teresa Palmer’s acting enriches the story. She hasn’t had the greatest roles, but this movie worked with her. Her edginess, sincerity, and attitude all mixed well to craft a character that was easy to latch onto and root for. Yeah some of the writing was a little corny at times, and her tough girl attitude was cute to see as she took on the spirit. Regardless, she played the mature, older sister very well and carried the movie. Her supporting cast only further supported her talent with Gabriel Bateman and Alexander Dipersia making an excellent pair to bring the tale to life.
In regards to the scare factor though, Lights Out’s strongest aspects is the creepy level. The trailers speak the truth when it says it makes your nightmares come to life. For me the shadows and feeling abandoned in the dark were the biggest thing to freak me out, especially in the realistic environments this movie takes place in. Seeing Diana (the ghoul in this movie) emerge from the shadows in her misshapen form only further sending a chill across my skin. All these factors build an epic suspense and heighten your fear of what lurks in the dark. But…
- Lackluster Scares
- The ending
Despite all the build up and being stuck in the shadows, the actual jump scares were lacking for my friends and me. Most things involved the abrupt start of music and became very predictable in what tactic they would use. Perhaps it was due to Diana not doing much, or maybe they just couldn’t keep things fresh enough, but the scares were missing in some sense for me. Or maybe the actual face of the woman wasn’t as messed up as I though (those eyes though). Therefore, those looking to have themselves frightened to the point of peeing their pants are out of luck. Oh well, the creepiness will linger in your mind longer to tell the truth.
And despite all the good of the story, there were still some things that needed a little tightening up to get the full effect. As mentioned the pace is a little rushed, the background stories are lacking, and the lines are cornier than a maze in the fall. However, it is the ending that made me sigh in disappointment. After a prolonged, semi-exciting battle against Diana, the ending occurs rather bluntly. Yes it had some emotional fervor behind it, and it will make my more dark hearted audience members reel in delight. I just wish it had more kick behind it instead of the compromise we got. My guess is the fast pace led to the abrupt ending, either that or they couldn’t think of anything to finish out the fight in that epic manner (a.k.a Star Wars Episode III). Whatever the reason, the ending wraps things up and could be vague enough to allow for another sequel to grace the screen.
Lights out is certainly not the most original ghost story we’ve received. However, it still has the edge, presentation, and story to put this movie on an upper shelf of horror quality. In terms of scare factor, again the creepiness will leave you afraid to venture into the dark, but its not going to leave your hair white anytime soon. However, in terms of intriguing tale it definitely gets points in this category for me. Is it worth a trip to the theater? In my opinion…not really, and your money would be better spent on say Star Trek this weekend.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 6.5-7.0