Friday, July 22, 2016

Movie Review: LIGHTS OUT

Directed by David F. Sandberg with the screenplay written by Eric Heisserer (based on a short film by David F. Sandberg), Lights Out is one of the scariest movies I seen since The Conjuring 2.

The story follows twenty-something Rebecca, played by Teresa Palmer. She is a free spirited young woman with trust issues so deep that she won’t even let her extremely patient boyfriend, Bret (played by Alexander DiPersia) keep clothing at her apartment. Rebecca’s father had left the family when she was a little girl. After that, she began experiencing strange things in her family home that were tied to her mentally unstable mother, Sophie (played by Maria Bello) that eventually drove Rebecca to leave.

After the mysterious disappearance of her mother’s second husband, Paul (played by Billy Burke) and coming to the realization that her younger half-brother Martin (played by Gabriel Bateman) is experiencing the same terrors as she had, Rebecca begins investigating the terrifying events that only occur in the dark. What she discovers is a horrifying secret her mother has been keeping all these years.

Lights Out harkens back to the days when the scares in movies didn’t involve slashers or gory special effects. Instead, you get genuinely scared out of your seat by things that go bump in the dark. This is achieved by clever, well written storytelling and top notch acting. That’s not to say there aren’t weak spots or places where the movie drags on at a slower pace. When it speeds up on the thrill ride of scares, though, it really delivers the punch. The special effects in Lights Out are simplistic in their execution and are more than adequate to make this movie work on the levels it needs to in order to scare and entertain the audience.

Maria Bello does her part as the mentally unbalanced, yet oddly vulnerable Sophia. It’s she who makes the whole ‘Diana’ threat work. Teresa Palmer, Alexander DiPersia and Gabriel Bateman are fantastic in their roles. The whole dynamic created between the three of them makes the story feel human. One complaint; to little of Billy Burke.

Marla’s Score: 8/10

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