Lights Out (2016) Review

lo1Lights Out (2016)

81 minutes

Directed by David F. Sandberg

Written by Eric Heisserer based on Sandberg’s short film.

Starring Theresa Palmer, Maria Bello, Gabriel Bateman, Alexander DiPersia and Billy Burke.

UK Cinema release – August 19th

What’s it all about? Martin isn’t sleeping and it’s not because he lives on Elm Street. His Mum has a friend called Diana, who isn’t exactly…well, alive. Martin calls on his big sister Rebecca for help and she soon realises the nightmares she had as a kid were real. With her kinda, sorta boyfriend in tow, they start digging into the mystery of the scary woman who lurks in the shadows.

Keep those lights on.

L.O.00185.dngDavid F. Sandberg makes his feature début here, basing it on his own 2013 short of the same name. It’s a basic premise, the fear of the dark and, although it’s not a perfect film, he delivers a solid entry into the genre.

It starts off well, quickly introducing the characters and set up. We are on our way, without pause for thought. Thankfully, it’s not rushed. Sandberg knows how to build tension and hold an audiences attention. Though the film feels padded in places, there are some genuine jumps and real tension where it’s needed. The story gets a bit silly, producing a couple of unintentional giggles with some shaky dialogue, but it’s not enough to spoil the experience.

Production value is high with nice visuals, great use of sound and Diana, our creepy, dark loving, light hating spooky woman, is very well realised. On top of that the films cast really deliver. Gabriel Bateman, as Martin, is a likeable young actor, conveying fear of Diana and love for his going a bit cuckoo Mum, Sophie, played by Bello, who manages her role well, never going too far with the crazy.

LO-01970.dngTheresa Palmer, as Martin’s sister Rebecca, makes for a credible heroine. She takes the biggest emotional journey of all the characters in play going from an emotionally repressed screw up to someone who is ready to give everything to save her little brother. Rebecca leads the fight, taking with her Bret, DiPersia, who is trying hard to win her heart. Bret could have been a messy, annoying chap, but, DIPersia plays his part nicely and has the two best moments in the whole movie. You’ll know them when they come.

Overall, it’s a good, solid film achieving what it sets out to do. Likeable performances, a few jumps and a creepy spook.

You might think twice about looking in your closet.


James Wan’s Lights Out to Hit UK Cinemas on August 19th


lightsoutwanLights Out to hit UK cinemas on August 19th

From producer James Wan (“The Conjuring”) comes a tale of an unknown terror that lurks in the dark.

When Rebecca left home, she thought she left her childhood fears behind. Growing up, she was never really sure of what was and wasn’t real when the lights went out…and now her little brother, Martin, is experiencing the same unexplained and terrifying events that had once tested her sanity and threatened her safety. A frightening entity with a mysterious attachment to their mother, Sophie, has re-emerged.

But this time, as Rebecca gets closer to unlocking the truth, there is no denying that all their lives are in danger…once the lights go out.

The film stars Teresa Palmer (“Triple 9”) as Rebecca; Gabriel Bateman (“Annabelle”) as Martin; Billy Burke (the “Twilight” franchise) as Martin’s father, Paul; Alexander DiPersia (“Forever”) as Rebecca’s boyfriend, Bret; and Maria Bello (“Prisoners”) as Sophie.

“Lights Out” marks the feature film directorial début of David F. Sandberg, who directed the film from a screenplay by Eric Heisserer (“Final Destination 5”), based on Sandberg’s own short film. James Wan, Lawrence Grey and Heisserer produced the film, with Walter Hamada, Dave Neustadter and Richard Brener serving as executive producers.

Sandberg’s behind-the-scenes team included director of photography Marc Spicer (“Furious 7”), production designer Jennifer Spence (the “Insidious” films), editor Kirk Morri (“The Conjuring”) and costume designer Kristin M. Burke (“The Conjuring”). The music is composed by Benjamin Wallfisch.

New Line Cinema presents a Grey Matter/Atomic Monster production, “Lights Out.” Slated for release worldwide in 2016, the film will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.