Lights Out, really, only has two good scares. And, you saw both of them in the previews. Despite that, there’s something about David F. Sandberg’s harmless horror flick that warms me over nonetheless.
Lights Out is a fine example of a film with mellow expectations that meets its own criteria with modesty. It stars Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies) as an easygoing hipster with commitment issues that don’t bode well with her boytoy Bret (Alexander DiPersia), who so desperately wants to make their relationship “official”. The couple is roped into family drama when a wayward sibling of Palmer’s Rebecca shows signs of neglect and emotional abuse. Maria Bello (A History of Violence, Grown Ups 1 and 2) plays the mother in question; she communicates with an entity named Diana and defends her ominous motives.
Lights Out could’ve been a movie about the consequences of hoarding secrets from the past or the repercussions of stockholm syndrome, but Sandberg (who developed this film from a short film of his with producer/screenwriter Eric Heisserer) is clearly more interested in broad scares and creepy atmosphere. Since the film aims within a reasonable and achievable common ground, Sandberg reaches success with a spooky flick that audiences will find acceptable.
The end result isn’t extraordinary or particularly memorable, but Lights Out passes the time well enough and always has the audience in its best interest – important elements when trying to satisfy and spook a mainstream crowd.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie