Lights Out (2016)
Critic 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.
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as Officer Brian Andrews
as Officer Gomez
as Young Rebecca
as Teen Diana
as Teen Sophie
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Critic Reviews for Lights Out
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.
Bello is an excellent actress and makes Sophie's anguish credible, although she can't rise above the material.
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.
Predictable stuff, energized by some spiffy scare effects and actors who perform well beyond the call of fright-house duty.
Audience Reviews for Lights Out
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
A concept which is sound, delivers scares and jumps in the right places! An enjoyable movie!
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
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