Movie Review – ‘Lights Out’

A bona fide horror flick, “Lights Out” will keep audiences sleepless and tense for days.

Patrick King, REEL BRIEF


Making his directorial debut, David F. Sandberg delivers a fast-paced and superbly acted horror film to viewers willing to endure its jittery, nail-biting suspense scenes. This film’s best feature, though, is the compelling storyline it glues us to from start to finish.

“Lights Out” shines apart from the more common mindless horror genre features found today using expertly timed comedic relief and several intriguing backstories. Each subplot evolves completely outside of the movie’s hair-raising supernatural, creepy star until all of the story’s loose ends are nicely tied up by the film’s conclusion.

At the center of this edgy thriller resides Rebecca, a twenty-something daughter of the film’s oppressor played by Australian hottie Teresa Palmer. Rebecca, trying to eliminate all potential drama in her life, ultimately gets thrust into the lead role of this jumpy mystery. And as the central figure, she delivers this movie. In fact, the complex relationship between Palmer’s Rebecca character and the rest of the film’s cast is where “Lights Out” dominates and excels.


Stellar bookend performances by Maria Bello (as Rebecca’s mother) and Gabriel Bateman, as the half-brother, create constant high drama and troublesome predicaments from which everyone must fight in order to stay alive. A solid tribute to the old school horror experience, this movie’s outcome is less predictable than most while leaving us guessing who’ll be left standing as the credits roll.

“Lights Out” brings a strong cast and an even stronger assortment of heart-racing suspense. Expect sweaty palms, covered eyes and a few startled theater seat moments between the dysfunctional family scenes. As both brother and sister attempt to get help for their unstable mother, a supernatural being stalks in the dark.

A bona fide horror flick, “Lights Out” will keep audiences sleepless and tense for days. Leaving the film screening, my first thought was immediately back to those warning signs posted at amusement parks attractions to customers; “For safety, you should be in good health and free from high blood pressure, heart, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this adventure. Expectant mothers should not ride.” I think the same guidance should apply to those wanting to see this well-made thriller.

Grade: B+

“Lights Out” is rated PG-13 for terror throughout, including violent, disturbing images, some thematic material and brief drug content.  Its running time is 1 hour and 21 minutes.

© 2016, Patrick. All rights reserved.

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