Directed by: David F Sandburg
Starring: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Billy Burke, Maria Bello.
*NOTICE* I try to keep my reviews as spoiler-free as possible but their may be some references to plot points that may be considered mild spoilers, reader discretion is advised.
Modern horror movies do very little for me, they don’t usually pique my interest, the ones I do check out very seldom scare me. The Blumhouse conveyor belt has pretty much stifled the genre with mediocrity which makes box office irrespective of quality, so when one with a decent original premise comes along, it stands out.
Lights Out is the feature film debut of director David F Sandburg, a director who has carved out a career up until this point on crafting low budget horror shorts, Lights Out is the feature length version of one of those shorts from 2013 baring the same name.
Lights out works very well. It has an original premise which already puts it light years ahead of 90% of the horror output in recent years, a monster that can not be seen in light. This encourages the use of a lot of clever ideas rolling off the traditional genre tropes, our primal fear of the dark, the boogyman, strange noises that need investigating and yup, even the monster under the bed. The story however is flat out ridiculous, I won’t ruin it by writing about it here, but you will giggle a few times at its shear silliness, the screenplay is written by the person who delivered us such cinematic gems as The Nightmare of elm street & The Thing remakes and Final Destination 5, you get the idea.
No, it’s the scares that keep you interested during it 81 minute run time, they are abundant and very effective, the monster ‘Diana’ is nightmare fuel. Seen predominantly in silhouette, her jerky movements and the scraping sounds that announce her presence keep you constantly on edge. Director Sandburg definitely demonstrates that he is more than capable of handling a feature length. He displays some genuine flare and talent, he will definitely be one to watch and I have a feeling on his next few films he won’t need James Wan’s name plastered on his movies poster to draw people in.
So Lights Out is a bit of an odd one for me, not a great film, but one that has a great premise, execution and a director to watch, there was definitely some positives to take away from it.