Lights Out

Critics Consensus

Lights Out makes skillful use of sturdy genre tropes -- and some terrific performances -- for an unsettling, fright-filled experience that delivers superior chills without skimping on story.

77%

TOMATOMETER

Reviews Counted: 171

61%
liked it

Audience Score

User Ratings: 27,248

TOMATOMETER

N/A
All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0

AUDIENCE SCORE

61%
Average Rating: 3.5/5

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Movie Info

When a bloodthirsty supernatural being that lurks in the shadows preys upon a family, a young woman must fight to protect herself, save her little half-brother, and uncover a mystery about her family's shadowy past.

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Critic Reviews for Lights Out

All Critics (171) | Top Critics (35)

  • Although the movie doesn't offer much in the way of characterization, its cheap thrills are manufactured effectively, like an amusement-park ride designed to rattle the nerves.

    Aug 1, 2016 | Full Review…
  • The fun wears out fast and so does the "gotcha" factor.

    Jul 28, 2016 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

    Rex Reed

    Observer
    Top Critic
  • Bello is an excellent actress and makes Sophie's anguish credible, although she can't rise above the material.

    Jul 23, 2016 | Full Review…
  • At 81 minutes, unfolding in a handful of key locations, and opting for practical effects and clever framing over computer-generated imagery, Lights Out is still lean and concentrated, and it benefits from that spareness.

    Jul 22, 2016 | Full Review…
  • Predictable stuff, energized by some spiffy scare effects and actors who perform well beyond the call of fright-house duty.

    Jul 22, 2016 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • For the most part, though, the film is just a tired tread through the usual elements.

    Jul 22, 2016 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Lights Out

½

The premise is simply as it is excellent: the monster only moves when it's entirely dark and will avoid any light. The movie creates a few pretty good scares through this. Unfortunately, the plot between those scenes settles on explaining the monster way too soon, which takes away most of the mystery and the threat. The solution is pretty lame, too. Entertaining enough but with quite some wasted potential.

Jens S.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer

½

An interesting concept expanded from its short-film origins. Though the film's scares are somewhat predictable it still presents a surprisingly thorough story; making Lights Out a solid piece of thrills and chills. 3.5/5

Eugene Bernabe
Eugene Bernabe

Super Reviewer

A concept which is sound, delivers scares and jumps in the right places! An enjoyable movie!

Film Crazy
Film Crazy

Super Reviewer

When it comes to horror, concept is king, but what's just as important is fully developing that concept to meet its potential, and that's where Lights Out succeeds. This is a low-budget horror movie that taps into a primal fear of the dark with a supernatural entity named Diana that can only be seen outside light sources. Thankfully, director David F. Sandberg smartly thinks of fun and interesting ways to play with this concept, like Diana disappearing in bursts of muzzle fire and a frantic, life-saving use of a car alarm. There's a great suspense sequence where an off screen light from a flickering neon sign, switching off and on steadily, sets up audience expectations and lingers, drawing out the fear. The editing is terrific. There's also a surprising subtext tackling the issue of mental illness and depression, as Diana, the malevolent spirit tethered to Maria Bello's character, only seems to appear during the rougher patches of her life, and Diana fights against Bello getting "better" which weakens her existence. Theresa Palmer settles in as a capable heroine that genuinely cares for her younger brother in danger from her mother and her "friend." The movie also subverts some genre clichés and treats its handful of characters with credibility. While the very end leaves some questionable final statements on mental illness, Lights Out is an elevated B-movie that takes its fun premise and executes it with aplomb. It's worth 90 minutes in the dark. Nate's Grade: B

Nate Zoebl
Nate Zoebl

Super Reviewer

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