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
Rebecca has a poster of what seems to be a snarling female vampire with long fingernails on her wall. 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.
See more »
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 »
Its brilliance lies in its simplicity. Lights out doesn't attempt to confuse anyone, nor does it look to introduce a totally original idea. Instead, it boldly and unambiguously taunts the audience with the message, "you were all afraid of the dark as kids and most of you still are."
Never has a scary movie villain had such an easy foil—light. Literally any kind of light—sun, fluorescent, bright. They each work perfectly well. Shine any sort of light in the direction of this movie's monster and she disappears. Poof. She's gone and everyone is safe. Writing this, I recognize that this doesn't sound even the tiniest bit scary. Yet somehow, as I sat in my well-lit house after watching the movie, I felt afraid.
A brief telling of the plot: there's a monster-demon-ghost-girl named Diana that lives only in darkness because light hurts her, and sometimes she kills people. She haunts other people in the movie who try to not be killed by her and also they try to defeat her. That's really all there is to know. Yes, it's a very simple plot, but still an enjoyable one, at least in this instance.
Something about the beautiful simplicity of the scare tactics just worked. Nothing confusing, nothing shocking. There weren't even very many classic hanging suspense moments interrupted by loud, jolt scares. These we textbook jump scares. A seemingly safe moment with normal amounts of sound that slowly drifts to silence then POW! A jump scare.
You may be thinking, "this sounds lame. How does this brutally basic approach yields effective scares?" Great question, my astute and thoughtful reader.
I've thought about this question and come up with a few explanations. First, we owe a tremendous credit to the actress who played Diana (Alicia Vela-Baley). Her intimidating posture and sickly contorting and Freddy Kruegerish flailing arms bring to life a terrifying character, whose mere presence on screen is enough to leave viewers unsettled. There's something about crouching, and Vela-Baley is great at it. Seeing a person crouch in a well-lit area is comical. But looking at a crouching figure in the shadows, that will make your skin crawl. The other explanation that I will offer is the visceral nature of the scares. Much of the movie takes place in the dark and the dark is scary. We are evolutionarily predispositioned to fear the dark. It's a survival instinct. Don't argue with me on this. I'm right.
Anyway, the dimly-lit, shadowy settings are the perfect playground for visceral and pure jump scares. Director David F. Sandberg hits all the right beats in framing and lurking camera movement to maximize this simple and smart approach.
So, that's it. If you can't stand jump scares or scary movies, don't see Lights Out. Honestly, I'm not sure why you're even reading this review if you don't like scary movies. If you do like jump scares and scary movies, watch Lights Out. And maybe buy a couple extra lightbulbs or a nightlight before you do.
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