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.



Total Count: 173


Audience Score

User Ratings: 27,297
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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 (173) | Top Critics (36)

  • There are scares from the off in the short, punchy horror Lights Out, adapted by the director David F Sandberg from his short film.

    Oct 10, 2016 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Ed Potton

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • 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

    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…

Audience Reviews for Lights Out

  • Jan 11, 2019
    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 Super Reviewer
  • Jun 24, 2017
    Lights Out exploits a fear every human being with a soul is familiar with. The fear of the dark is something even grown adults are weary of as the simple uncertainty of what lies in the shadows, is quite a universal horror. While, Lights Out tries to incorporate a thoughtful storyline in its supernatural horror elements, it ultimately doesn't go far enough to make the climactic showdown register emotionally. Some of this has to do with the slim running time which doesn't make room for much emotional development, and while Teresa Palmer is wholly likable and badass as the maternal figure, the film never quite digs deep enough into the psyche of her characters past. The film also exploits one scare tactic and utilizes it consistently throughout. Luckily, it is a rather effective one. It's an entertaining, quick-moving horror film. It could have reached slightly further towards its aspirations to become a great one. Rating: 61
    Bradley J Super Reviewer
  • Apr 02, 2017
    Lights Out is based on David F. Sandberg's short story of the same name. It tells the story of a mother (Maria Bello) and daughter (Teresa Palmer) and their estranged relationship, brought about in part by the mother's mental illness and also a ghostly presence that has latched itself on to the mother. This presence can only be seen - yep you guessed it - when the lights are out. The short story succeeds precisely because the initial scare is clever and the concept holds steam within the few minutes the story takes to finish - however, this feature length Lights Out loses steam, purely because whilst the initial scares are cleverly put together, the audience becomes so familiar with the concept that the would-be scares no longer terrify, but in some instances become comical. Sandberg tries his best to keep the concept going however and his direction shows promise. Perhaps he'll excel in the upcoming Annabelle sequel which has a premise with lots of potential. Palmer and Maria are also effective in their respective roles.
    Ilyaas H Super Reviewer
  • Mar 05, 2017
    Produced by master of horror James Wan, Lights Out is a terrifying thriller that preys on our primal fear of the dark. The story follows a young woman named Rebecca who attempts to rescue her step-brother from their mother when she goes off her medication and becomes schizophrenic, talking to an imaginary friend who lives in the dark; but when Rebecca is attacked in her apartment she begins to suspect that her mother's friend may be real. Teresa Palmer gives an impressive, strong performance, and director David F. Sandberg does an excellent job at building tension and suspense. Delivering some intense and frightening scares, Lights Out is a well-crafted horror film.
    Dann M Super Reviewer

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