Lights Out, 2016 – Review

Guys, an update first. I am trying to put a method to my reviews and have come up with this scoring system. I am going to rank the movie on 5 interlinked parameters and score each one of them on a 5 point scale (0 to 2) based on my understanding and liking. So each parameter can have at-most 2 points, making it a total of 10 points. Higher the number, the better the movie. Hope this makes sense, let me know your views. Appreciate it.

 

Scores

Lights Out Review

Most of us know that Lights Out is based on a short film of the same name directed by David F. Sandberg. The short came out a few years back and became one of the most watched short horror films. The premise of the short was that this creature was visible only when the lights were out – in the dark. Lights Out is now a full feature (well, a little shorter than most full-features) with a complete story to who the creature/spirit/ghost/evil entity is.

This review does contain spoilers.

Plot and Script (P&S)

The story is that this creature, Diana, was extremely light sensitive when alive and not a very good person. Apparently she could get into the heads of people and make them think whatever she wanted. She meets Sophie (played by Maria Bellow) in a mental hospital and makes her think she is her friend. There are some oldish scenes about how an experiment on Diana went wrong and she turned to poof (well that’s what the images showed) like literally and died.

Years later she reappears but now Sophie has a husband and a girl called Rebecca (Teresa Palmer). She is jealous, scares Rebecca and the husband leaves or so what everyone believes. Even more years later, Sophie now has a son from another marriage and is back to seeing Diana, who is scaring the shit out of the kid, played by Gabriel Bateman.

Out of the 80 minutes, about 50 minutes of the movie is all about the story of all the characters and how it all comes together. The last 30 minutes is about killing Diana for good so the initial long bit does take some time to build.

The story does have some loopholes like Diana’s motives and how she moved around. If her aim was to stick on to Sophie then she was doing that, why was she harming the family? But if her objective was to have Sophie all to herself then why didn’t she kill the kids – trust me she had multiple occasions. Even her moving in the darkness didn’t make sense sometimes because there was light and one wonders how she got there.

The first ten minutes or so are like a homage to the original, which I thought was fun. But then the killing of the second husband is totally unrelated to what happens after that and somehow disconnected the whole movie for me.

Characterization and Acting (C&A)

The characterization and the acting is good in most parts, especially the kid, Gabriel Bateman. He really pulled it off. Teresa Palmer was good too, though sometimes she looked like she was lost, like Kirsten Stwart who has that look all the time.

One thing I really liked was the resourcefulness of the characters. They were no throwaway characters who die because they were dumb. These characters had a plan and improvised when the plan didn’t work. Teresa Palmer’s boyfriend character, played by Alexander DiPersia was not the throwaway love interest like in other horror movies, he actually helped and did useful things in the movie.

The creature itself was a letdown for me. The original was so much spookier and unnevering. This Diana was more James Wan kind of ghost – old and moved with a crackle.

Sounds and Effects (S&E)

Sounds and effects were just ok, nothing spectacular.

Cinematography and Visuals (C&V)

The visuals were good, the light and the darkness were used well to explain the story and worked in most parts.

Direction  and Overall (D&O)

I think David Sandberg did a decent job considering the popularity of the short and the direction was good. I think the letdown was the script and the plot-holes itself which doesn’t make it a ‘great’ horror flick.

So here are my scores:

Plot and Script (P&S)- 1

Characterization and Acting (C&A) – 1.5

Sounds and Effects (S&E) – 1

Cinematography and Visuals (C&V) – 1.5

Direction  and Overall (D &O) – 1.5

Overall score – 6.5

Considering the shit that is out there in the horror genre, I suggest watching it once  at-least 🙂

Let me know what you think of the scoring and the review. Thanks.

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