Before Count Dracula, Freddy Krueger or the boogeyman, there has been something else that that has been scaring us for years, it’s the creatures of our imaginations when the lights go out… that’s mankind’s original fear. Director David Sandberg knows this and capitalizes on this fear in his new horror thriller Lights Out starring Teresa Palmer and Maria Bello. The film focuses on an evil entity of the darkness that has tormented a family for years, but the family’s problems get progressively worse when a secret attached to these events comes to life.
Teresa Palmer plays Rebecca, a 20-something slacker estranged from her family when a terrible accident sparks a series of unexplained events that begin to take a toll on her younger brother Martin (Gabriel Bateman). Rebecca heads back home to confront her mentally unstable mother (Maria Bello) and to find out who or what has been tormenting their family. This leads to some terrifying moments, the evil force who comes to life once the lights dim. Lights Out has a mystery element to the story, but the film’s main goal is to terrify the audience, which it definitely succeeds in doing.
David Sandberg doesn’t exactly recreate the wheel with the tension in Lights Out. There are moments you see coming from a mile away with creatures lurking in the background that only the audience can see. Sandberg may use generic techniques for scares, but he manages to build some anxiety filled sequences that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Whether it’s the sound of scratching on wooden floors or an eerie figure who is there one moment and gone the next with a flip of a light switch, Sandberg keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. The refurbished chills work so well you feel as if you have been exposed to them for the first time ever as you hide your eyes and grip the arm rail of the theater seat.
Lights Out is a simple movie in terms of running time (81 minutes) and budget ($5 million), but is an exciting horror film that skips the gore for good old fashion frights with a PG 13 rating. The blood and guts visual are not needed when you’re trying to figure out what is stalking this troubled family. The only issue is that the villain is never quite explained which could leave theater patrons frustrated with the lack of closure. However, others could be engaged by the mystery of Lights Out hoping for more answers in a new franchise. This is a movie meant to be seen in a dark theaters with the lights out.
Overall, I give Lights Out 3 out of 4 scary stars!
Read all T.M.’s reviews here–>Entertainment Now with T.M. Powell