Lights Out (2016 Review)

Author: Laura Cosheril

Lights Out is the newest “Cult Horror” movie to grace our screens. It takes an age-old Horror Movie concept and puts a modern and overly-creepy twist on it which makes for hair-pulling, nail-biting and downright creepy viewing.

Produced by modern Horror legend, James Wan, Lights Out is an expansion on a previous short film (which can be found on YouTube). Although some might argue that it is STILL a short, with a running time of just 80 minutes. Upon reading other reviews of this movie before deciding to watch and review it myself, I noticed some other critics criticising that it was long and dragged out; I couldn’t disagree more. Yes there are some parts that are not horror-filled, for example all the family drama with Martin, Rebecca and their mother. But this all contributes to the story and sucks us in even more as it makes it incredibly relatable.

This movie sees the harrowing tale of a family torn apart by a mother’s mental illness and instability. In the opening scene we see Paul (Billy Burke) working late at a textile factory Skyping his son, Martin (Gabriel Bateman). Martin explains that his mother isn’t doing so well and that she is talking to herself. Paul, doing what any self-respecting father would do, assures Martin that he’s working on getting his mother better and that he would be home soon. It is shortly after this scene that we get the first feel for what the movie has in store.

While trying to leave, Paul is confronted by an entity which he soon realises that only appears in the dark. This is where my attention piqued. Something that seems so simple yet has not been done properly for years; fear of the dark. Now, most people go through a stage when they’re younger of a fear of the dark, this movie plays on the child in you and tries to remind you that the monsters you thought were under your bed when you were younger, they’re real.

Very early on in the film we develop some kind of emotional connection to Martin, the poor boy has lost his father – the only person who was committed to helping him help his mother. Now Martin is alone in the house with his mentally unstable mother. There is a real sympathetic connection there and not just your generic “child in a horror movie” connection, but we really feel for Martin. The writers did a great job in developing this character, we see Martin go through substantial mental changes and finally facing up to his terror.

One aspect I did notice, but it wasn’t until the end, that there is a serious lack of music in this movie. The lack of music adds to the suspense and overall feeling of terror in this movie. The silence is almost deafening in this movie it builds that much suspense that you feel as though you’re going through the ordeal with the family.

All in all, the deciding factor for most people as to whether or not to watch a horror movie with this much hype is; is it scary? I will say that it is surprisingly scary and a serious contender for my favourite horror movie of the year. This is a strong movie and I’m so happy it finally got the release on the big screen that it deserves. A solid 4.5/5 from me. This is going to be taking pride of place in my collection.

Rating: 4.5/5

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