Lights Out (2016) – Review

So far, 2016 has proven to be quite surprising in regards to horror flicks.  Movies such as The Conjuring 2, The Shallows, and The Purge: Election Year have dominated the box office with ease. It’s refreshing to see the horror genre doing so well. I don’t know how many times I’ve walked into a theater, super excited to see the latest scary movie, only to leave disappointed. The creative juices are definitely flowing this year. Can 2016 keep up the good work or is it lights out” for everyone?

Released on July 22, 2016 and directed by original short creator David F. Sandberg, Lights Out is a horror movie that leads us to yet another clever concept. Instantly, we are given a brand new excuse to be afraid of the dark – as if we didn’t have enough reasons already! The movie begins with Sophie (Maria Bello), a woman who has been mentally ill for most of her life. The psychological disease has caused the destruction of all of her close relationships. The only people who remain are her young son, Martin (Gabriel Bateman), and her best friend, Diana (Alicia Vela-Bailey). Since Martin is still a child, he lacks the care that is supposed to be provided by his sick mother.

As for Diana, you could say she is a very possessive friend who wants Sophie all to herself. It also doesn’t help that she is dead and extremely dangerous. She only resides in darkness, so poor Martin is forced to stay up all night to make sure the lights stay on. At his breaking point, he realizes the only person who would truly understand his dilemma is his older sister, Rebecca (Teresa Palmer). She has already isolated herself from the family but quickly figures out that her brother needs her. Together they find themselves fighting for their lives while searching for the light. This is the only instance I would say that it is one hundred percent OK to actually “go into the light.”


Lights Out emphasizes the contrast between darkness and light. It is very difficult to get the lighting correct while filming a movie. Filmmakers often run into issues where there is too much or too little light. Have you ever seen a film that was so dark that you couldn’t enjoy it? Most of us have. The majority of this film is shot in darkness. Therefore, it was absolutely crucial to play up the lighting. Let me tell you, Lights Out accomplishes this without flaw. There are two scenes in particular where the colors red and blue were used for effect. The end result was a supernatural vibe like no other. Does that make you want to throw the covers over your head? It should. Then again, you’re just putting yourself in more darkness…aren’t ya? Muahahaha!


In addition to the spectacular lighting, the cast did a great job as well. Bello, Palmer, and Bateman have a great chemistry that allowed this film to be molded. Significantly, Palmer portrays Rebecca as strong yet we still see the hidden vulnerability in her character. She reminded me of how people can push others away in order to avoid being hurt. That happens all too often. Young Bateman perfected the anxiety that children go through when they’re scared. Considering he’s a child, he also effectively radiated the maturity that his character was forced to have. Some kids have to grow up faster than others, due to certain circumstances. As I mentioned before, Bello plays Sophie, the mother of Martin and Rebecca. Out of everyone’s role, I felt Bello’s was the most difficult to portray, yet she passes with flying colors though because she executes the role brilliantly. Last but not least, we have the menacing Diana, played by Vela-Bailey. She deserves a standing ovation because she brought to life the next nightmare-inducing monster. Do I foresee at least eleven sequels in the near future?


The film has already grossed over $30 million at the box office. However, is Lights Out the best horror movie ever made? To be honest, no. The ending was kind of a letdown. One minute I’m on the edge of my seat, and then the next thing I know, the movie was over and I’m baffled. On the plus side, that is the only issue I had with the film. It is clever, truly scary, and one I will be purchasing for my collection. If you are looking for a good jump scare movie, Lights Out is for you. For those of you who cannot handle the dark, it will be “lights on.”


About Nikki777

Nikki has always been a fan of all things horror. At the ripe age of four, she became an instant Freddy Kreuger fan and the rest is history. She has aspirations of writing a horror novel someday so writing horror articles is right up her alley! She currently resides in Des Moines, Iowa with her boyfriend and two dogs.

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