Why are we afraid of the dark? Is it the sense of the unseen that scares us or the unknown potentially lurking within its grasp? No one has a definitive answer although it has made horror movie makers happy. Many have used darkness to great effect to conjure scares which ‘Lights Out’ effectively does. Keeping things basic without endless pyrotechnics, it is a fine little chiller sure to tingle spines long after the closing credits.
After leaving home, Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) hopes she has left her troubles behind. Her brother Martin (Gabriel Bateman) experiences the same terror and mental trauma which caused her to leave. Rebecca gradually learns her former home houses a sinister entity linked to their mother Sophie (Maria Bello). Events quickly spiral out of control as Rebecca fights to save her family from doom’s eternal blackness.
‘Lights Out’ is an acceptable horror movie mostly devoid of blood or gore. It strives for genuine tension with resourceful characters using their wits to battle the odds. This is rare for a recent horror film as most personalities are there just to increase the body count. With ‘Lights Out’ you become more engaged in their struggle due to the strongly written characters and solid acting. Making you care about what happens to them, the script explores their back-story in interesting detail.
Everyone reading this will want to know if ‘Lights Out’ is actually scary. The answer is yes with some reservations. More due to some genre clichés creeping in, with the realisation of the entity akin to something from ‘The Ring’ series, it nonetheless makes good use of its brisk run-time. David F. Sandberg’s direction wrings what it can from the thin premise with good use of shadows and light. It would have been better to know more about why things were happening, although these will undoubtedly be explained in the inevitable sequel.
Even though it won’t do much to cure some people’s fear of the dark, ‘Lights Out’ delivers a sufficiently spooky tale. You couldn’t ask for much more with one grateful that it made an effort to shackle fears and to make viewers more wary next time the lights go out.
Movie Review Rating out of 10: 6
Movie Review by Patrick Moore
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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.