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?



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