Lights Out: A Review

Monday, November 7, 2016


If you've heard about Lights Out, the Swedish short film released last 2013, then you must be one of those who, upon learning that they would be making a full-feature film in 2016, made sure that they would see it in the theaters and continue the story.

Just to give you a bit of a background, the short film was directed, shot, written, produced, and scored by David F. Sandberg and co-producer Lotta Losten, who also starred in the film. It only ran for 3 minutes, but the thrill, the "what would happen if" moments were ever present, leaving the audience wanting. The short won "Best Short" at the Bilbao Fantasy Film Festival in 2014 and in the "Best Director" category in Bcc Horror Challenge (the site might be down now, though).

Know more in their wiki here.

Here is the original video upload of Lights Out on Vimeo:

Lights Out - Who's There Film Challenge (2013) from David F. Sandberg on Vimeo.

It captured the internet and film industry by streams, and that resulted in its being created into a full-length film. Like I said, if you were already aware of the short, you would've sprung into action once the film came out in 2016. I did, and I enjoyed it for the most part. The other that was left begged for more depth, unfortunately, but we'll get to that later. I'll try to be as unbiased and as gentle as possible, with as much truthfulness as I can give without spoiling the movie.


The Plot / Story

Almost immediately, you're transported to the same situation the short had, only this time, it wasn't in a house but at some sort of apparel factory. You're given the iconic scenes presented during the short, and you're well aware that this won't last just 3 minutes. It sucks you right in and reveals who is doing the killing at the start and its weakness - light. Now, this fact they couldn't save for later as the short already gave the villain away, but what was most exciting was how they developed those 3 minutes into something more sinister. A creature with a history.

The short gave us no clue to what the creature (Diana) really was, why she was doing those horrible things, and what the random girl had done to deserve such a fright. They had all the time in the film to introduce us to a more textured character, one that at some point in time we might've sympathized with. It's always amazing how storytellers can craft a whole world from a few minutes of inspiration, and that is what they did with Lights Out.


The Ups

The thrill is there, the story was there, and the actors did a swell job of portraying their characters and their emotions. I'd say the casting team did their job alright. Nicely-shot angles, great lighting, and great choice in the house they used for the filming.

The Downs

The end was "meh". I feel like so much more could've been done at the end, and the film had the impression of being an extension of a short, not a full-length movie. It might just be me, but unlike cliff-hangers that leave you wanting more, Lights Out left me hollow.

Overall Rating: π π π π (4 "pies", haha)

What do you think of the film, and if you haven't seen it yet, do you plan to?



12 comments

  1. oooh! I'm a sucker for scary movies so this is definitely in my must-see list. Was it gory though? I'm more into psychological/supernatural thrillers so I could do without all the blood and ickiness. Too bad you didn't like the ending. It's so hard to find a solid, consistent horror movie nowadays. Will still watch though!

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  2. That's a lot happening in a plot of a just 3 minutes long movie. I think that short films are inspiring and not because of their subject but because of the amount of work and attention to details that go into making them. Not anyone can visualize a small part of life in just a few minutes.

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  3. This sure sounds an interesting one. Lately im not much into watching movies in the like. As much as i wanted to. But id like to pit this in my list. The end part sounds intriguing. Sometimes i hate endings that left me hollow just like how you described Lights Out. But i wanna check this out soon!

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  4. I have watched the trailer of this before when it was released last March I think. I think that the plot was not very unique but the actors did a good job. I like the Swedish short film which I just watched.

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  5. I've seen the short film with my brother and it was fun to watch. We hilariously laughed especially at the end. Horror films don't really scare me, so I can watch the 2016 full-feature film. However, I avoid watching such as I don't want to bring them home even if Jesus has authority over them.

    - Me-An Clemente of http://yogoandcream.com

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  6. Never knew about this movie before. But, i think, i would recommend this to my friends. They always wanted to watch movie like this.

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  7. I've seen this movie. Nothing great. I really liked the part where that guy (the boyfriend) drove off when Diana was there. Haha! I thought it was pretty funny, I don't know why. But yeah, it was a bit weak for me.

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  8. I used to watch a lot of thrillers and horror films when I was much younger. But lately, I prefer drama, true stories and inspiring movies. I'm also more careful in choosing movies that I'd watch based ont he plot or story. Maybe because I'm not so much into movies.

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  9. I haven't seen the movie and to be honest I didn't feel like watching it. I like horror movies, but I think lately they are too much of a let down. I don't like all the CGI they put into horror movies now. It's so much that it's scary anymore. I'd like some originality like When A Stranger Calls, which is the best horror movie I've seen. I mean the movie from 79 not the remake. Even though there's only two scenes, they show you it doesn't need much to scare you. All this tension growing is incredible. Unfortunately, remakes or just new horror movies look all the same and they just want to make to much. I really liked those 3 minutes and I wasn't expecting the end. The way you talked about the end of the movie doesn't really make me want to watch it. I can understand the feeling of simply extending a short movie into a long one. I was more interested into Don't Breathe which was at the cinema around the same time and had an interesting story, but I didn't have the opportunity to watch it though

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  10. Your review of the movie looks good. I don't like watching horror movies though. I have a hyper active imagination so I refrain from doing so.

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  11. I like suspense-thriller movies, but I stay away from horror stuffs. Since you also felt the full version is a bit hallow, I don't think I will be inclined to take a 2nd look.

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  12. Thank you. Your Makalen can be understood very clearly

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