Lights Out

Directed By: David F. Sandberg

Starring: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Alexander DiPersia, Billy Burke, and Maria Bello

It seems as if the box office might just be getting interesting again.  We had the delightful Ghostbusters last weekend and have Star Trek Beyond this one.  We even have Jason Bourne and Suicide Squad waiting in the wings.  We're in the midst of a potentially really good wave of big blockbusters here.  All the while, the undercurrent of horror and animated flicks that have kept the summer season afloat continues.  This weekend, it's the supernatural horror film I've been awaiting for quite some time now.  It's Lights Out.  If you have a childlike fear of the dark that's persisted well past its expiration date, I would politely suggest that you consider watching a softer film this weekend.

As a child, Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) was once haunted at night by a dark malicious spirit named Diana (Alicia Vela-Bailey).  Her depressed mother Sophie (Maria Bello) told her that she just had nightmares.  Soon thereafter, her father disappears leaving Rebecca and Sophie by themselves.  In reality, these nightmares may have been something more.  Fast forward to the present.  Rebecca and Sophie are estranged.  All grown up and dating a man named Bret (Alexander DiPersia), Rebecca is living on her own in the city.  With her new husband Paul (Billy Burke), Sophie is raising another child by the name of Martin (Gabriel Bateman).  The young boy is also haunted by this evil spirit.  When he begins falling asleep in class with his parents nowhere to be found, Child Protective Services reaches out to Rebecca.  Soon, the demons of her childhood come knocking on her door, and she must face them down to save her little brother and herself.

Lights Out
might just be my favorite scary movie since last year's It Follows.  The attributes that define my favorite horror flicks are creativity and originality, both of which are present in this supernatural thriller.  It takes a devilish imagination to come up with a malevolent spirit that can move only in the dark.  It's a pretty novel premise.  Simply executed, effectively envisioned, and utterly disturbing, director David F. Sandberg's feature film debut is a chilling motion picture that delivers a serious dose of terror.  It's a slow burner that gradually ratchets up the fear as the film progresses.  Towards the end of this crescendo, it becomes not just unnerving but nightmarish.  All in all, Lights Out is the horror movie that patient aficionados have deserved for quite some time.

The cast delivers a solid set of performances.  Teresa Palmer plays the rebellious daughter turned caring sister quite well.  Palmer effectively uses bravado to convey that her character is afflicted with plenty of scars of her own.  For his part as Martin, Gabriel Bateman is anything but an annoying child.  Bringing plenty of humor and heart to the film as this insightful child, Bateman is a welcome addition to the film.  For his part as Rebecca's boyfriend Bret, Alexander DiPersia is the character most emblematic of the moviegoers sitting in the audience.  His character brings a great deal of common sense to the film.  Finally, we have Maria Bello as Sophie.  As a manic depressive literally haunted by her past, it's safe to say that she's in her sweet spot.  However, she's at her most entertaining when she finds her strength.

Lights Out
gets a strong 0.06% rating.  Have a few glasses of Chardonnay with this one.