<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by David F. Sandberg. Starring Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Alexander DiPersia, Billy Burke, Maria Bello, Alicia Vela-Bailey
Running Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Though it’s very formula like most horror movies lately, Lights Out manages to create tension and elicit the right laughs (brought on by the fact that the movie has just scared you) and shivers.
Lights Out turns on the scares from the very first scene with a female creature in the darkness dismembering a man called Paul (Billy Burke) in his factory. All of a sudden we are transported to members of the family that play the central role in the film. Sophie (Maria Bello) is the disturbed mother whose first husband apparently walked out on her and her two kids: Martin (Gabriel Bateman) and Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) when they were little. Paul was the step dad but Rebecca left home soon after she realised her mother wasn’t psychologically fit to take care of them.
Very quickly we learn that the beastly female who can only appear in the darkness is a girl called Diana who was friends with Sophie but apparently died under mysterious circumstances. She had a debilitating skin condition that would burn her if light so much as touched her. But she’s not gone apparently and her presence gets exacerbated as Sophie sinks further into depression causing her son Martin to begin seeing her ill-omened ‘friend’ at night.
Rebecca soon realises that this childhood friend of her mom’s who haunted them then had returned with a vengeance and this leads her to dig deeper into the history of their mother while also taking care of Martin.
Lights Out starts off with the usual scratching noises and shuddering doors and turning door knobs but it’s the mystery behind it all that keeps you interested in this story. How is this demon girl tied to Sophie? The filmmakers have sort of made her a metaphor for mental disorder and depression, tying Diana and Sophie together to show us how this sort of illness can tear apart a family.
The film has some funny moments as well involving Rebecca and her boyfriend Bret (Alexander DiPersia) that balance things out well.
Lights Out is a decent if formula scary movie that will give you the scares but it also has that subliminal message about the demon of depression, which should never be taken lightly.