I’ve had my eye on Lights Out ever since I saw the trailer for it some time earlier this year, as it looked to capture the main thing people fear about creatures lurking in the shadows. Now I finally got to see the film on a Blu-ray review disc and I can say it’s just as creepy as I thought it would be and then some, as it’s a fun movie to throw on anytime you’re looking for some mild PG-13 thrills and chills.
Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) has had a rough childhood, and not because of bullies at school, but thanks in part to a creepy girl that lives in the shadows named Diana (Alicia Vela-Bailey) that plagued her growing up. The years of dealing with Diana have taken a toll on her, her mentally-ill mother (Maria Bello) and now it seems with her younger brother Martin (Gabriel Bateman) who is also starting to see Diana in the dark. After learning of this, Rebecca is forced to return home with help from her boyfriend Bret (Alexander DiPersia) to where it all started, and do her best to protect her mom and brother while also finding a way to put an end to Diana and her cursed legacy.
I had a scare-filled blast watching this one, as the creepy special effects utilizing light and sound to scare the crap out of you works surprisingly well here. I think that’s what makes this film stand out from most of the other ho-hum ones on the market. It knows that suspense is the key to what really freaks people out and uses this to great effect. Sure there’s a cheap jump-scare here and there, but seeing all the freaky little signs that Diana is about to appear, such as noticing something skitter or twitch on by reminded me a lot of the mind-screwing, psychological horror the Silent Hill game series were great at. It also helps that this movie is short (running at nearly 80 minutes), which is always a plus in my book when it comes to horror films as long ones tend to get boring and dragged out.
Being in high definition, the movie looks and sounds great, especially if you have a nice home theater setup. Since the film relies heavily on sight and sound for its thrills, having anything that enhances these two things makes the experience so much better and terrifying. The only thing more scary than the movie is the light amount of extras here, but they’re still interesting to look at after you’ve turned the lights back on. Nearly fourteen minutes of deleted scenes are the only extras you’ll find here, but they serve to show you just how far the film came from being a so-so mess to actually being the good finished version you just watched. A perfect example is the alternate extended ending which turned out to be pretty bad and makes you thank goodness it was left out of the final cut.
While some people might not like the semi-tame PG-13 thrills, if you’re looking for something good and freaky to watch on Halloween or anytime you’re in the mood for some good scares, you’ll want to hit the lights and curl up on the couch under some sheets with Lights Out. While it would’ve been nice to have had some more extras, the intense thrills from the movie and the progression made from the deleted scenes is more than enough to have you clamoring for a light source.