A man called Paul is working after hours and is murdered by a supernatural entity in the shadow. When his son, the boy Martin, is frightened by the same creature, he sees his mother Sophie talking to an imaginary friend called Diana in the shadow of her room. Martin does not sleep anymore during the night. His older step sister Rebecca who lives alone is summoned by the social assistant. She brings Martin home and recalls her own experience with Diana years ago when she was young. Rebecca and her boyfriend Bret investigate the connection of Sophie with Diana and come up to a scary revelation about their past.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Special effects of having the ghost appear and disappear were mostly done by using a split-screen technique as also used in the short. Sandberg said "Whenever she's in frame with another character, it's basically just a split screen. So you shoot it with her and without her. You turn the camera on with her, you turn it off and she walks off, and then you turn it on again. It's super simple, actually." Sandberg also made a list of what he called the "light gags", or different ways to create light sources from flashlights to cell phones and gunfire. Director James Wan also put in the idea of replacing the flickering neon sign with passing car headlights. See more »
When Rebecca is talking to her mother, she mistakenly refers to Diana as "Diane". See more »
[on video call]
Hey, Dad. Are you coming home soon?
Yeah, uh, in an hour or so. What's up? Where's Mom?
I don't think she's feeling good.
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No person or entity associated with this film received payment or anything of value, or entered into an agreement, in connection with the depiction of tobacco products. See more »
Lights Out is an interesting stab at a horror movie based on a 2013 short film of the same name. The movie's novel concept is a creature that can only be seen and manifest in the dark. Turn a torch on, and it disappears. Naturally, this means that a lot of the movie is spent in the dark but this works well.The use of lighting is one of the movie's strong points and allows for some creative, and occasionally funny, uses of torches, candles and even car headlights. This technique generates a lot of the scares and atmosphere and given the movie's title, this is a must. Definitely top marks for the director on this part.
Teresa Palmer and Gabriel Bateman do well in the lead roles as the unfortunate kids with a crazy mother, played by Maria Bello. The problem with the movie is that apart from its main concept, it doesn't add much else. Clichés abound and yes, there is the mandatory dark basement (groan). Most of the scares are jump-out-at- you shocks and it's all been done before. Hollywood seems to have forgotten how to use psychological horror and churns out movies that are just twists on the same theme. This is probably a bit harsh as the movie is enjoyable enough and it's well-written, but I long for something new that isn't so long in the tooth.
The supernatural horror is effective and does elicit a genuine threat to the characters. Maria Bello, in particular, does well to ramp up the threat levels and makes you wonder who is going to make it out alive. As already mentioned, this was based on a short film and it really still is, coming in at around 80 minutes. Perhaps there wasn't enough material to make a longer movie but there's a feeling that it ends just as it gets going.
Lights Out is a decent film if you feel the need for a dash of supernatural horror but don't expect anything stand-out; it just doesn't deliver enough of a impact to make it memorable. It's good for what it does but don't buy too much popcorn as you may not have time to finish it.
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