Lights Out (2016) – Review

Review: Started off as a viral hundred-second short film circa 2013, director David Sandberg expands the idea into an 81-minute full feature, which somehow gives you a nyctophobia and electricity company a strong warning.

Opened with a reenactment of the short film, Lights Out takes only seconds to directly introduce the mysterious entity, a human silhouette that only terrorizes in the darkness. ‘It’ only appears when the lights out and disappears when the lights on; and it goes on and on until the bastard comes right in front of you.

As soon as the entity gets a proper introduction, Lights Out introduces us to a family – the epicenter of the whole film. The story revolves around Rebecca (Teresa Palmer), a pariah with past issues against her mother, who tries to protect her stepbrother (Gabriel Bateman) from the danger which used to threaten her when she’s younger. Meanwhile, their twice-a-widow mother (Maria Bello) keeps acting weird as she befriends a secret friend. Question is: Does the mysterious entity cause misery within this dysfunctional family? Or does the dysfunction manifest in this anti-light entity?

Lights Out (2016) – Gabriel Bateman

Sandberg and his writer, Eric Heisserer, do not bother focusing on the entity, although ‘it’ is the horror magnet. In making the full feature works, intrigues in Lights Out effectively manifests into sympathy which goes in balance with annoyance caused by the insidious entity.

BACA JUGA: Review Lights Out dalam Bahasa Indonesia!

That entity gets extra spotlights during first few minutes, where ‘it’ takes full grip with frontal terror, which effectively presents shocking effect. However, Sandberg shows little interest in exploiting it; instead, he utilizes more atmospheric tricks – letting silence breaks; shooting suspicious corners; highlighting dim, threatening corridors; or leaving dark spaces in the middle of well-lighted room.

While those tricks are highly effective before Sandberg decides to give some jump scares, which get more intense as it goes. Some are original and worth a shot, but as time goes by, they become repetitive and predictable. What makes it less bland is: Sandberg doesn’t bothering unraveling the real manifestation of the insidious entity; leaving it becomes some silhouette or shadow in the wall, intimidating audiences with nescience. It works as if the entity could simply jump off of the screen.

Teresa Palmer & Gabriel Bateman | Image via IMDb

Excessive jump scares are on problem; Lights Out also suffers from minor plot logic and backstory. Yet, thank that logical error for it might escalate the terror without posing continuity problem.

BACA JUGA: Review Lights Out dalam Bahasa Indonesia!

At least, Lights Out could still bring the horror out. It might get weighed down with repetitive jump scare and minor plot logic; however, it poses a real, relatable, and effective terror. Now, turning off the light would never be the same again as ever.

Lights Out (2016)

Horror Directed by: David F. Sandberg Written by: Eric Heisserer Starred by: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Maria Bello Runtime: 81 mins Rated PG-13


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