The Movie: 7/10
Why are some of us drawn to horror flicks? I’m on really a schlock horror fan, but I have a few favorites in my blood bucket that are pretty lame, but “good”. Sometimes a movie comes around that’s trying to be something that it can’t quite capture. Lights Out is average with a hint of more, but not much more. I think I liked the premise of the story, but then it all jumbles up in my head when I think back about it.
A young girl 30 years ago had some strange skin condition and obvious mental issues who mysteriously dies in a mental institution, only after having befriended and infiltrated the mind of another little girl who turns out to be the mother in our story who’s own daughter had to grow up seeing the dead mystery girl, so the daughter left home when she was young while her younger brother is now dealing with the dead girl and mom who is falling apart because the mystery girl feeds on her mother’s mental illness and emotional instability and this mystery girl can only be seen in the dark, but not all dark spots just strategically scary places and she can touch real stuff but she’s kind of a ghost but not really and she can move around in the light but not really but you can see her in the glow of black light…and and and and….whew…all that crammed into such a short movie.
It felt like an old fashioned horror flick in one way. They tried to write it in a way in which we are slowly subject to reveals of plot points, but it feels forced and made me roll my eyes several times. The origin of our mystery girl is shaky at best, and not fully developed in a way that makes you either totally fear her, or sympathize with her. The characters are forced as well, the sister who was the kid who ran away from home because this all apparently happened with her mother many years ago, well, she’s into skulls and metal music and wears black clothes..hmmmmm
The mother is pretty good though. She suffers from mental illness, which is the food this entity feeds on, and she never seems over the top or squeezed into the “crazy mom like Carrie’s crazy mom” box, which is good. She’s subtle and believable and she became my favorite thing in the movie.
The men are disposable, let’s be honest, it’s not about a dude coming to the rescue so they get tossed around, crushed, terrorized, and I can’t even remember what they looked like so that tells you something.
The scares are fair to good at times. The image of something in a shadow in the dark that disappears when the lights come on, well, even an grizzled old woman like me gets that spine tingling thing when that happens. The scraping sound of our mystery girl’s long weird deformed fingernails/bones does kind of terrify me, so that’s a bonus. The idea of the scraping in the dark and then you turn on the light but nothing is there….yike.
Overall it’s a reasonable creep fest for a Friday night movie. Just remember to make it a double bill and add something like Hostile to remind you that the things in this world to be scared of are not the ghosts and monsters:)
- Deleted Scenes (14 Minutes) – One of these deleted scenes is a complete new ending to the movie, it’s worse than the one one used but worth a watch.
- UV Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 8/10
I really like the image of the cover, even though it feels like that was the thing that inspired the whole movie. The idea of a duct taped light switch and the question of “Why?” yea, creepy, but not something I would have in my house as a poster just because the movie didn’t do much for me.
Audio & Video: 8/10
Lights Out may be lacking in special features but the transfer is nothing short of incredible. A movie that takes place in the dark is a difficult one for the avc codec to handle but here it is nigh on perfect. Warner have also chosen to use most of the disc with an average bitrate of 31mbps which is good to see and I hope will continue a trend.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track is also impressive with stunning use of surround sound. If your the type who gets scared at these sort of movies prepare to be looking behind you a lot. The score is also quite effective and swells up in the surround stage at appropriate moments.
Overall Score 6/10