October 19, 2016

VOD Review: Lights Out (2016)

"Not as good as the short, but an admirable full-length effort."

*SUBMITTED BY: MastorParty, because he liked it, and wanted to know if we did too. 

Back in 2013, a Swedish dude named David F. Sandberg came up with a simple, yet crazy effective idea for a short Horror film: A woman's house is haunted by a shadowy figure that moves closer and closer to her every time she turns off the lights.

Sounds like a simple idea, and it is, but man did that short send a chill down our spines when we first saw it.

You can check out the short HERE.

Three years later, James Wan decided that the short was so good that it needed to be a full-length movie, and so he made it happen. He even let Sandberg direct it. We think that's kinda cool.

We think the final product is kinda cool too. 

After spending her childhood dealing with a mentally ill mother, and a father who just up and left her when she needed him most, it's safe to say that Rebecca has intimacy issues. And trust issues. And Daddy issues. She refuses to have anything to do with her nutcase mother; she pushes the "guy she's seeing" who she refuses to call her boyfriend away every time he gets too close; and she doesn't even make time to see her little brother, whom she loves dearly.

After her Stepfather is murdered by a creepy ghost, Rebecca is forced to go back home to take care of her little brother, because her mom is a nutcase who talks to a shadowy figure named Diana in her closet, and just isn't up to the task. Diana has been haunting the family since Rebecca was a little girl, and though she's been gone for years, she's come back for some reason. She only shows up in the dark though; if the lights are on, she can't appear, because lights hurt ghosts or something.

As Rebecca begins to uncover the mystery of Diana, and why her family is plagued by such a mean-spirited spirit, things get pretty dire for everyone around her... but not too dire, because this is a PG-13 affair.

Bloodless jump-scares and low-light set pieces ensue.

Not only was Lights Out not as bad as some critics made it out to be when it hit theaters back in July, but it's actually quite good. Really good, even.

I truly expected this one to be another dull, flat, predictable PG-13 Horror flick that Hollywood is so fond of churning out on the reg, but was surprised to find that it was smart, creepy as hell, and that it actually had something serious to say about mental health. Now, it wasn't perfect. It really could have run a bit longer to flesh the characters out a bit, but then again its pace was maybe its greatest virtue; things happen quick in this movie, and there's not much of its runtime that is dedicated to slow, boring exposition.

Oh yeah, and it was pretty creepy too. Intense at times, even. 

I was wondering how they were going to take an effective short film and stretch it into a 90-minute movie, but they came up with a really great backstory to go along with the already great hook, and it melded together better than we had hoped. Diana was a terrifying monster, and the fact that she was borne of, or allowed to carry on because of, Sophie's mental illness was an interesting way to give her character some weight.

This movie was Teresa Palmer's show. It took me a minute to warm up to her character, but once I did, I found myself really liking her. The girl makes a good Scream Queen.

Everybody in the movie trying to keep the lights on at all times got a little gimmicky. Flashlights, candles, cellphones; there was even a scene where they luckily found a large blacklight in a trunk in the basement that somehow "still had some juice."

I get that the movie doesn't exist without the whole "lights on, lights off" thing, but it felt like a cheap ploy at times.

As with most PG-13 Horror flicks that come out of Hollywood, Lights Out is a bit too safe and familiar. That's by design, of course, but man, push the damn envelope a little bit!

It's about as gory as you'd expect a PG-13 movie to be: not very.

Again, this movie is PG-13, so no such luck.

We're giving Lights Out a B because it deserves it. It was not only better than we thought it would be, but aside from being a bit tame, and "feeling" like a PG-13 Horror flick, it was pretty damned effective in its mechanics.

Rent this spooky treat this Halloween Season, and watch it with the lights out. Heh.


Lights Out is available now on VOD, with a Blu-ray & DVD release to follow on October 25th.

Teresa Palmer is one saucy Aussie, mate. G'day.


  1. Thanks for the shout out and the review. We were pretty eye to eye on the film. I actually saw this film and Don't Breathe in the same weekend. I found it interesting how both films use darkness as plot points and for suspense. Although not a perfect film, I'd say Don't Breathe was the better of the two. It was more gritty and realistic (well the premise anyway...lol) but It did not spook me. Shock me, yes (turkey Baster, anyone?) Lights Out, on the other hand, although pretty formulaic, gave me the willies. When Diana first does the advance further forward with the whole lights flickering thing - baa! My wife asked me why I slept so close the next morning. Good film. Great review.

  2. TP is pure fire. So attractive

  3. Do you take requests when you decide which movies to review? Once in a while, I come across something obscure but worthwhile and I always come here to see if you guys watched it too since your site reviews the same type of horror/thriller films I enjoy watching, primarily the ones on Netflix and Amazon.

    Let me know. I'd love to give back a little bit after you guys helped me so much in finding good movies. :)


    1. We don't "operate" on requests, but we sure are willing to watch and review something if someone suggests it, and we have access to the film.

      Request away, Dan!

    2. Assuming you didn't see it already, I'd be interested to see a review for 'House Hunting' (2013). It's streaming for free on Amazon Prime.


      I remember passing the title a few times because the poster didn't look appealing to me, but finally I gave in and watched it. For better and for worse, I thought it was a pretty well-made, yet oddly creepy movie that kept me glued the whole time even if it's not the most original in content.

      I do think it's a worthy one for horror fans to be made aware of, though. Some may not like it, but others like me who have seen a lot of horror just might. :)

  4. Great review. The movie wasn't perfect but it had structure and it stuck to it the entire time. The jump scares were pretty much effective, too, but yeah I think it could have been stretched a bit more. Overall, a fun ride fit for Halloween.

  5. I immediately thought of the "weeping angels" from Dr.Who when I saw the trailer. They get closer when you blink or look away. Come to think of it the nurse/surgical assistants in Silent Hill kinda borrowed from them as well.

  6. This is as good as a place as any for this I suppose:

    Okay, so I decided to watch the new Ghostbusters movie about a month or so ago. Then I had to watch it again, becuase my wife wanted to watch it also(I think I slept some). So now Since then I got the extended version, adding over 17 minutes to the movie. Now we all here know that 17 minutes can be a LOT of content that was left out, depending on scene length and whatnot. So I'll just say that so far , with 2 viewings of the original cut, I thought the movie was basically so-so. Nothing could be as good as the first one, we all know this, but with Paul Feig at the helm, and 17 minutes being left out, I figured that there is a possibility that there may actually be a completely diff experience that was waiting to be seen.
    So I went ahead and and watched it, all the way to the very end(I didn't know there was a setup to the sequel). I have to say after this 3rd viewing, this movie has really grown on me.

  7. The movie was pretty good. I had fun watching but am a bit sad that it wasn't ment to shock adults. Diana was really creepy but the good guys never really were in danger. In fact, the attacks never got to them. For a Halloween spook, it's good but probably won't become a classic. Although there are movies I never understood why they became cult objects.

  8. For the lack of better terms I would agree with your review and actually I DO agree that it was quite creepy. I think overall it was a decent film and comparatively better than some of the others of your 2016 list. Still I appreciate the effort on this site. There is definite style and work put into the scene clips and hotties database even if I think your ratings are a bit generous for many of these films