I, like many people, saw the trailer for Light Out, and I, like many people, thought ‘that gimmick makes for a great trailer, but it can’t possibly be stretched out to feature length’. Still, there are plenty of horror films, even ever franchises that have relied on a gimmick. The Paranormal Activity films have found footage, the Saw franchise has over the top contraptions, and there are plenty of other films that rely solely on graphic violence and nothing else. With that in mind, if we’re shown enough different sources of light, and even given a half decent back story to go with the scares, there’s no reason Lights Out can’t be one of the better horror films this year.
Nobody likes the dark, but imagine if every time you switched off the lights, there was someone there. Well that’s just what’s been happening to Martin and his mother Sophie. When Martin’s half sister Rebecca finds out, it reminds her of a time in her past that she would rather forget, and the more she looks into it, the worse things seem to become.
As I’ve already implied, this film has a gimmick that everybody can relate to, and potentially one people will take home with them. Luckily, the film uses what it has going for it in some interesting and creative ways. Every time a new scary scene starts, we’re introduced to another form of light. These vary hugely as the film goes on, and even though there are times that characters could simply open curtains or flip a light switch, you do have to let some things go, otherwise there would be significantly less tension in the film.
Something that isn’t handled quite as well is the pacing. The opening provides some scares, although it will feel very familiar to anyone that’s seen the trailer, but after that the film slows way down. A lot of films in this genre suffer from a similar problem, but every plot or dialogue heavy scene feels a little laboured. This is all forgotten by the time the finale rolls round however, and there are enough ideas to leave you wondering what a bigger budget sequel could do.
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