horror, darkness, evil, film, LightsOut, Mental Health, Shadows, halloween

Lights Out

Lights out is my first venture back into the horror genre for a while. Not because they scare me. But because I grew up seeking the ultimate scare when I was younger and watched LOADS of horror films. From Hell Raiser to IT or from The Ring to Cannibal Holocaust, all found in the back of some cheap and nasty video store that was filled with smoke and and smell of something foul. But to me the place was littered with cheap videos and lots of frights to be had. Anyway, horror films lost their ability to scare the holy hell out of me. I didn't bat and eye for a lot of films that came out over the last few years. Were the films rubbish or predictable or was just it me? Hard to say.

Lights Out stars Teresa Palmer as Rebecca, when her little brother, Martin (Gabriel Bateman), starts have troubling issues that once plagued her, Rebecca has to look into her family's tragic history and to have a closer look at her step fathers investigation into her mother's stay in mental institute and more importantly. Into her mother Sophie's friend there who has developed an attachment to Sophie (Maria Bello). She must find answers quickly before the lights go out and something in the shows claims them.

I have to say this film has some good scares in there and for people who need a good fright this coming Halloween. This film has a few good moments for those who get scared easily. This horror film does not rely on gore but just some simple tricks of the lights and some sounds to build up the fear factor and that works wonderfully for this film. as I firmly believe the best horrors now need a psychological scare to provide the best jumps and scares, especially now as we are not a generation scared by Freddy Kurger or Pinhead type figures and that is large due to the internet and easy to view content.

This film would probably score rather high with me if it didn't have mental health at the heart of this film. As someone who has raised awareness on this subject and regularly interacts with mental health related subjects a lot I couldn't completely get behind it. I did feel that darkness and Sophie's friend from the mental institute, Diana (Alicia Vela-Bailey), is a blatant metaphor for depression and other forms of mental health that could involve delusions of grandeur. When martin turns rounds and pretty much says "mum's crazy. will I be crazy?". Thankfully it was quickly dealt with, but I got worried this film was about to go down the route of you don't have to be crazy to see Dianna but it helps route. Alas it didn't do that, rather wisely too in my opinion. This would be my one gripe about this film as it could be seen to promote mental health the wrong way.

The cast was small in this film with essentially five main characters. Everyone important and earned their paychecks. I don't think any of them will be picking up Oscars this time round, but none of the main characters made me feel like I was watching another generic horror film or played the same type of characters you would normally see in a horror movie. The child actor Gabriel Bateman stole the show for me personally as he wasn't a creepy kid or being the kid no one listened to in these films. He was an equal and I liked that.

This film is critically a success and it made bank at the box office. And you know what? I liked it. Okay, so didn't love it. However I liked the horror element and thrills. There is also some beautiful shots that make the darkness a lot more eerie. At the end of the day that's what you need in a good Halloween film.

I can see why this film this film is in most horror fans top 3 along side The Conjuring 2 and Don't Breathe. Give it a try and see what you think of the Lights Out.

7/10 Stars


Graham Leslie