Reviewer: Zep the Bear
Lights Out is a fun piece of business.
I caught a weekday, late-afternoon screening of it yesterday and was pleasantly surprised by the sizable crowd in attendance and great reaction that it gave the film.
Directed by David Sandberg and produced by James Wan, the plot follows “Rebecca” (Teresa Palmer), an adult sister who is attempting to help her juvenile younger brother who is still living at home with their mentally ill mother, Sophie (Maria Bell). The mother, and by virtue the family, is being haunted by “Diana,” a now-deceased friend that Sophie had when she was in a mental institution as a young girl. Presently, Diana manifests herself as a light-sensitive specter who is terrorizing them all.
Much like the short it is based on, this movie has a lot of scares.
The film is not perfect. The middle of the movie slightly stalls as we learn about Diana. Her backstory is parcelled out and a bit muddled.
One thing I feel Sandberg got right was how he chose to portray the oldest daughter. When we first meet Rebecca and her boyfriend they are in bed together just shortly after having been…uhh…intimate. The boyfriend, Bret, played by Alexander DiPersia, wants to cuddle and talk about their future. Rebecca isn’t having it. In fact, she won’t let him stay the night and insists he leaves. Later in the picture, she faces off with Diana while he is nowhere to be found. In short, Rebecca has a man around because she wants one not because she needs one.
This is what the marketing minds behind the Ghostbusters ruse earlier in the year pretended their film was, a movie about strong women. Ghostbusters is a movie with lead female actors. Lights Out is a movie with a strong female character. Big difference.
Anyway, the movie has a lot of scares both big and small. The casting and performances are all on point. Sandberg doesn’t re-invent the wheel with this one, but the movie is fun.