Director David F. Sandberg brings us back to our primal fear of the dark.
Last 2013, Director David F. Sandberg’s short film, Lights Out, received positive reviews and even got some recognition such as the “Best Short” (FANT Bilbao 2014) and “Best Director” (BC Horror Challenge). Three years later, we now have a feature film about it.
The film is about siblings Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) and Martin (Gabriel Bateman), who are recently haunted by the ghost of Diana, an entity that can only harm you when it is dark. The fact that Diana was a childhood friend of Sophie (Maria Bello), their mother, makes things worse for the two.
The thing that made me so hooked in this movie is that beyond the horror aspect is a tragic story about a mother’s descent into madness and how it affects her family. Take Diana the Ghost away from the picture, and you still have a heavy plot. The two conversations between Rebecca and Sophie before the climax are heavily emotional. You can’t say that to most horror films/movies.
Every character is able to give something significant to the plot table. No one is there just to be a cannon fodder. Each character has depth. Even the character of Bret (Alexander DiPersia) is a surprisingly good one; he’s the ultimate boyfriend. But none can compete to Teresa Palmer’s portrayal of Rebecca. The way she acts after the second she hears her brother say Diana shows the viewers that there was a history between her and Diana. The forced exposition that happened next is really unnecessary after that. When the scares come in, Palmer delivered authentic screams and body movements one might wonder if the filmmakers are doing a snuff film.
The scares are beautifully executed. In his feature film directorial debut, Sandberg proves to us that he is a master of jumpscares. There is build-up and suspense.
My only gripe with the movie is the character design of Diana. She looked exponentially scarier in the short film.
Lights Out is a refreshing addition to the horror genre. Man’s basic fear is reawakened everytime the lights turn on and off. Actor performances are amazing. Because of this, Lights Out is undoubtedly…