Told myself I wasn’t going to review this movie because it just looked so cliche from its premise to its trailers, but surprisingly enough, it really took me off guard. So here’s my hook: remember when you were a kid and you use to be afraid of the dark?  Yeah, this movie will remind you why you were and mess with your head on the way home at night. Let’s break down Lights Out.

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Lights Out is directed by David F. Sandberg and in short, features a shadowy, demonic entity known simply as Diana that torments a family of a widow, an older daughter with commitment issues, a young scared little son. Very straightforward stuff.

This movie is originally based off a fan made YouTube video short from two years ago. It went viral, someone in Hollywood saw it, liked it a lot, and they got James Wan to produced it! If you guys remember, James Wan is one of my favorite directors today so this did have somewhat of an intrigue for me going in.

For as simple as its premise is, it’s somehow still a very effective as a good screamfest and as well as a good drama fueled story powered by surprisingly strong performances.

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As I said, all around surprisingly good performances from the cast. Maria Bello as the mother who’s lost a lot in her life and is slowly losing her mind, is very good in her role. Teresa Palmer portrays the distant daughter who returns home to save her family from this woman in the dark, also does a very solid job. Even the not-so-typical boyfriend played by Alexander DiPersia brought some good acting chops to the table. Usually the stereotypical horror boyfriend is the standard idiot, but this guy was actually resourceful!

Speaking of resourceful, the characters in this film are actually very smart, capable people. Yes, there are predictable decisions that are made at times of terror, but they don’t feel generic or bland. They’re just a very refreshing group of horror characters to say the least.

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This movie is also very well shot, from its color scheme to its great camera work, it’s all effective in a way that builds genuine tension and fear. That’s really all I wanted in any horror film nowadays, I want to feel a sense of uneasiness when I’m watching and this plot does know how to get the job done well.

As far as the problems I had with this film go, there are scenes that were suppose to make the audience feel sympathy or despair for the characters. However, they came off as kind of comedical and at times, hilarious. The audience I saw this movie with, were actually laughing pretty hard during certain scenes, including myself.  Every time the audience laughed, the tension the film had created instantly left the building a few times throughout the story.  

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All in all, I can’t really hate on this movie for being simple in its premise. For as simple the gimmick was to have a creepy woman appear only in the dark and torment a family, the movie knew how to keep things fresh and entertaining for the audience in a fairly short, a little over an hour horror film.

Despite a couple of scenes not going according to plan in terms of audience reactions, I’m going to give Lights Out a solid “B” on the movie grading scale. It’s still a good summertime screamfest to enjoy during a day when it’s like stupid hot outside and unbearably humid to play Pokemon GO.

As always, thanks so much for reading and make sure to stay posted to Frank’s Takes for more reviews. Until next time, keep it 100.

– Frank

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