The last time someone in Hollywood decided to make a film out of a three minute short, the human race was afflicted with Pixels. Happily, Lights Out is a significantly better film.
I’d hesitate to call it a good film though. A film where the villain lives in darkness and vanishes in light might be a really cool idea, after all, all you need to do is film a few shots of darkened rooms, a bit of hissing, after all- what you can’t see is infinitely scarier than what you can.
But if you re going to show your monster in the first five minutes, not subtly tease with a glimpse here or seeing an arm there but to actually, fully show your monster maybe make her look a bit scarier than a slightly drunk girl who’s forgotten to trim her nails recently? She just reminded me of bad nights out at uni.
But I guess when your film is a mere, sniveling, barely a film length 81 minutes long there’s not really any time for being subtle is there? Or character development. It was only ten minutes before the end that I realized one of the characters actually had a name! I think it was Ben- I was simply calling him ‘possible red-shirt’ until some actual red-shirts turned up.
And whilst this film did make me jump a few times, it relied mostly on jump scares, most of which I was pretty sure I could count down to (and in a few instances did). The tone was pretty inconsistent as well, after showing us the monster in the first five minutes the film then tries to keep her off screen with hissing voices, off screen grabs and varying levels of super strength – It’s abilities seem to vary according to the scenes demands.
And, of course, towards the end of the 5 minute long second act the film throws up its hands and out of nowhere turns into Home Alone. Which, in Kevin had a much scarier protagonist.
Oh and did I mention that they dump the same exposition on us four different times!?!? 3 times within ten minutes of each other and then again ten minutes later? I promise you, your plot is simple enough that even I could follow the gorram thing! Or was it padding? It could have been padding I guess.
Now, I don’t want you to feel like this 81 minute ‘film’ is completely hopeless. It does have a lot going for it. A tolerable child actor for one, as well as pretty solid performances all around. I liked that the director went for practical effects as much as possible rather than never as scary CGI. I loved that he went method with his lighting as well. In scenes with candles and black-lights that was all the lighting that was used so thumbs up with that.
And it did have creepy moments- but not enough of them to make a difference because in the ultimate test of how scary a film is… I slept like a baby with the lights off after seeing it.
My Score- Poor