“Lights Out”: What’s Hiding in the Dark?

lights-outLights Out is directed by David Sandberg and stars Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, and Maria Bello. The movie is about a family being split apart by a demon named Diana who can only be seen in the darkness, and from there the two children must figure out how to save their family from this terrible being.

The Good

This is a movie that I was incredibly excited to see based on the premise alone because the idea of a monster being seen only in the dark is a brutally terrifying concept. The most important component of this film is in its monster, and this is one of the most well-done monsters I have seen in a movie in years. Diana is a very scary presence in this movie, and the way the film uses the idea of her only existing in the dark is exceptional.

The highlights in the movie definitely are from Diana, but the main cast all give some pretty solid performances as well. Gabriel Bateman has a surprisingly good performance as the young brother, Martin, and I say surprisingly because he is a child actor in a horror movie. Child actors are notoriously bad in movies like these, but Bateman shines in a much more subtle performance than my young actors could have given.

Teresa Palmer is solid as older sister Rebecca, giving a much MUCH better performance than she did in The Choice earlier this year. Palmer starts off iffy, but as the film progresses, I grew to like her character more and more. Maria Bello is also pretty good, but, like Palmer, her performance really depends on the scene that she is in.

What I liked most about Lights Out is just how much it knew what it was. This movie is an 82-minute film that is pretty much straight through from start to finish. The movie does what it’s supposed to and never tries to be anything too large and doesn’t set up for any dumb sequels, and I love that. Many horror movies struggle to find characters that are easy to root for, but director David Sandberg does a great job at making likable, sensible characters, while also give them an interesting backstory.

The Bad

Speaking of the backstory, where Lights Out goes wrong is in its attempted explanations of what’s going on. On the surface, it’s a perfectly acceptable explanation, and the first time it is brought up, I believed it. The problem is there are a handful of times where the backstory is brought up, and each time I bought it less and less.

The film was certainly entertaining, and at points it was scary, but it didn’t necessarily bring the chills down my spine as much as I thought it would. The film also dives down some clichéd paths here and there, and once in a while becomes a bit too cheesy, but nothing majorly got in the way of me having quite a good time with this movie.


Lights Out is a quick, well-acted, well-directed horror film that has a great monster and solid entertainment value. There are moments of greatness to be had, and it’s a scary enough concept to keep the movie going. For better or worse the movie never tries to be anything exceptional, and the backstory becomes convoluted. However, I had a great time watching Lights Out, and I recommend it to anyone that wants to see a good horror flick.


What did you think of Lights Out?  Comment below with what you thought.

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