Lights Out


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Lights Out
"As a one trick pony the film executes a number of repetitive moves that inspire a factor of fear which seems genuine"

Every kid and half the grown world is scared of the dark. What happens when you die? You're scared of the light.

In fact (in theory) when you croak squiggly wet worms have lunch on what's left, or your body is filtered through flame and oven dried so that your family can perform an ashes flinging ceremony which could be fun if it wasn't so creepy. How can ashes be a person? That's for another day.

Copy picture

What we are talking about here are the dead who aren't dead although they are which makes no sense. They are the limbo loungers, the spirits of the gone, the scary others who exist in books and movies, but don't really... Well, maybe.

Ghosts have rules, like society has rules. The walk-through version don't speak. They float in sheet white nightwear and look miz. Poltergeists throw stuff about, but you don't see them. The verbal variety make sounds, even talk, and you don't see them either.

The ghost in Lights Out breaks every rule. It's a she, not a he, despite a growly voice. She can be seen as a silhouette when the lights go on. She looks like a native of the Cook Islands who has been dancing too close to the fire. What's worse, and this is where the filmmakers have taken liberties, she can kill.

As a one-trick pony the film executes a number of repetitive moves that inspire a factor of fear which seems genuine. It would be easy to mock the clandestine cliches because what can you do that's new in a monster under the bed scenario, except in this case its a thing, a vengeful entity, a ghost with claws? You refrain from entering The Mock Shop, too eager to discover the back story. Also, you wait for the candles to blow out.

Rebecca's (Teresa Palmer) stepdad experiences a power cut in his warehouse one evening. He checks it out but doesn't make it until morning. Rebecca's young half brother, Martin (Gabriel Bateman), starts seeing a malevolent figure in his room which is reminiscent of what she saw when she was his age.

It's all about mom (Maria Bello). Is she crazy? She's on meds but forgets to take them. The figure, this killer ghost, is her friend. It has a name, Diana. Isn't that the name of my sister who died, Rebecca thinks.

Suddenly the story dives into Loopy Lake. Diana is jealous of anyone who comes close to Rebecca's mom. Is she real, although dead? Is she a figment?

Hang on one pretty minute. She murders people. What's more real than that?

Ghosts have rules. No longer. Are you scared of the impossible? That is the question.

Reviewed on: 15 Aug 2016
Share this with others on...
Lights Out packshot
A murderous ghost is scared of the light so keep those candles burning.
Amazon link

Director: David F Sandberg

Writer: Eric Heisserer, based on a short film by David F Sandberg

Starring: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Maria Bello, Alexander DiPersia, Billy Burke, Alicia Vela-Bailey, Andi Osho, Rolando Boyce, Maria Russell, Elizabeth Pan, Lotta Losten, Amiah Miller, Ava Cantrell, Emily Alyn Lind, Ariel Dupin

Year: 2016

Runtime: 81 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


Search database:

If you like this, try:

Under The Shadow