Lights Out (II) (2016)

PG-13   |    |  Drama, Horror, Mystery


Lights Out (2016) Poster

Rebecca must unlock the terror behind her little brother's experiences that once tested her sanity, bringing her face to face with a supernatural spirit attached to their mother.


6.3/10
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  • Maria Bello at an event for Lights Out (2016)
  • Lights Out (2016)
  • Alexander DiPersia at an event for Lights Out (2016)
  • Alexander DiPersia in Lights Out (2016)
  • Teresa Palmer and Gabriel Bateman in Lights Out (2016)
  • Teresa Palmer at an event for Lights Out (2016)

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13 July 2016 | CSHaviland
8
| Creepy and satisfying
Lights Out takes some queues from Japanese-styled ghost stories, so it will be attractive to that audience. It has a strong chill-factor but a somewhat average formula, and it could have used fewer back-story explanations to make it more mysterious, especially since those elements did not feel original.

Based on chill factor alone, it ranks higher than Dark Water, The Forest, Paranormal Activity, The Others, The Babadook, and The Boy, and lower than The Ring, Ju-On / The Grudge, and other Japanese-styled ghost stories, as well as any horror James Wan himself directs. Comparing it to masterpieces like The Exorcist and Poltergeist has no value.

I would say its chills rank somewhat evenly with The Woman in Black and It Follows, without being as original as the latter.

The ghost itself is creepy enough, but the overall movie didn't have the creative twists that we enjoyed from movies like The Boy, The Others, The Sixth Sense, and 10 Cloverfield Lane. It also didn't have the storytelling chemistry of James Wan's own Insideous or The Conjuring movies.

I am a fairly difficult person to frighten. I have been seeing horror movies at the theater since the 70's, and I am usually only interested in the ones that have a supernatural or fantastical element to them. So I am very critical of them, and the only ones I collect on disc are either fun (Tremors), scary (the Grudge), or both (An American Werewolf in London). I will collect this one.

Ghost stories are done to death. It is very difficult to come out with anything scary that is original. I think Lights Out could have used the guided hand of a third-party master horror writer, mostly revising the back-story revelations and using the character relationships to build suspense and mystery surrounding what is going on. Then, perhaps working up to a punch line at the end so that suddenly the back- story rushes in on the audience in one moment, with one simple revelation. It is very difficult to think of how that can be done, but other movies have done it, and the payoff is huge.

I think Lights Out tried to do that a little but got confusing in the attempt.

But all-in-all it's a nice little scary movie with a smaller production value but a satisfying ghost.

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