Lights Out : Movie Review

Lights Out (2016) - Movie PosterIs "Lights Out" the story of an evil supernatural entity unable to rest after her untimely death, or is it a piercing metaphor for the ravages of mental illness? Director David F. Sandberg's debut feature (based on his 2013 short film) works on both levels, but it is this latter thematic undercurrent which separates the film from its routine brethren. It doesn't hurt that the spectral heavy is played by an obscured yet seamlessly tactile live-action actor rather than an overtly CG-augmented creation. This achieved authenticity heightens the admittedly predictable spook tactics, just as the committed actors bring added depth to otherwise underwritten characters in Eric Heisserer's (2011's "Final Destination 5") no-fuss screenplay.

When twenty-something Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) receives a call from younger half-brother Martin's (Gabriel Bateman) school about his sleeping in class, it is a surefire sign mother Sophie's (Maria Bello) depression and possible schizophrenia have reared their heads in a big way. Grieving over the recent mysterious death of second husband Paul (Billy Burke), Sophie is up all hours of the night, speaking to an unseen friend she calls Diana. Rebecca knows all too well about Diana, a presumed figment of Sophie's illness who haunted her nights as a child. Worried their mom has stopped taking her medication, Rebecca welcomes Martin into her home. Simply going across town, however, is not enough to save them from a sharp-clawed, light-sensitive wraith who is much realer than a mere voice in Sophie's head.

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Author : Dustin Putman,