Verdict: A new plot but the same old story
James Wan is back with a new horror film! After the success of The Conjuring 2, there has been a lot of hype surrounding Wan’s latest production Lights Out, directed by newbie David F. Sandberg. Making horror movies can be quite the tricky affair. The challenge is to put out something new and unpredictable in a genre, which focusses mostly on visual effects. Most horror film makers either continue the trend of putting together a half-baked plot with the usual horror tropes, while some think out of the box to create something exceptionally frightening. Lights Out has a little of both.
The movie primarily deals with mental illness. Sophie (Maria Bello), mother of Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) and Martin (Gabriel Bateman), is grappling with depression, and the sudden death of her husband Paul (Billy Burke) leaves her in a worse state. Moreover, she seems to be haunted with the ghosts of her past, or rather just the ghost, who goes by the name of Diana. His mother’s condition takes a toll on Martin, who cannot come to terms with the new entity living in the dark corners of their house. His only way out is his step-sister Rebecca who lives away from them, unable to deal with their mother’s illness. Rebecca’s intervention and newly emerged concern for her mother may prove fatal for her, as Diana can only exist while Sophie remains sick and depressed. There’s only one way Rebecca can save her family – she must keep the lights on!
Inspired by his 2013 short film of the same name, this movie is Sandberg’s big directorial debut. Eric Heisserer converted the 2.42 minute short film into a 1 hr 22 mins feature, with James Wan coming on board for production. Wan’s association with the movie certainly led to its hype, but the movie fails to live up to the buzz. Beset with every horror movie trope you can find, the movie has a good start, keeping the audience mildly interested, until they finally give up and take advantage of the darkness for a well-earned nap. The actors could not create an impact, nor derive sympathy from the audience. The paranormal Diana thrills with a few jump scares in the beginning, but her spider-like movements and chilling shriek become increasingly tiresome. With an interesting plot, and effective lighting, the movie could have done a lot more in its attempt to create something new and different. We wish there was more emphasis on the mother’s mental condition, but the movie focuses only on creating the abrupt scares, which become typically predictable towards the end.
Why You Should Watch This Movie
This movie is ideal to watch with friends who are terrified of horror movies. There are plenty of moments with brilliant visual effects which will scare you out of your wits. Be careful though! It will take time to get used to the darkness again after this movie.