Somewhat annoyingly, Wan has attached his name all over the final product of this film; actually directed by David F. Sandberg - although you won't find his name anywhere on promotional materials.... You may remember Sandberg's initial viral short. If not, check it out below:
Scary, right? Pretty cool premise as well. Luckily, that's exactly the premise that he's is going for with this feature adaptation - of course making a few additions as he goes. Namely, an interesting backstory that boils down to The Babadook-lite. Unfortunately for him, I suppose, it's only been two years since that particular film was in cinemas, and the memory of it hasn't faded enough for this kind of rip-off. That doesn't mean that Lights Out is a bad movie, or that it is undeserving of your time; but it does mean that it asks to be compared to a modern classic. And unless Lights Out turns out to be a modern classic, it's gonna be lights out for Sandberg.
|Holy shitballs that's creepy....|
|A beautifully stylised finale.|
|Some more excellent composition and colouration!|
In terms of acting, it's not awful, but nothing to write home about. Teresa Palmer gives a good performance as Rebecca, and this is backed up by another reasonably strong show by Maria Bello as a fragile mother coping with depression. These two performances effectively carry the weight of the film, with both Bello ans Palmer perhaps being a little too pantomime, but still being effective enough to win our hearts and convince in their roles.
|Yes, a mannequin factory. Why? Because.|
So there we have it: a mixed bag. Sandberg has a great creature, and, in many scenes, a great sense of style. His film explores an interesting theme, in a competent (albeit very obvious and clunky) way; and at least two of his major players put on a good show. However, the acting is decidedly a mixed bag; most of the scares are cheap; the backstory is a load of bollocks; and frankly the film feels too much like the Babadook at points to let it claim the thematic beats as its own. He reaches up and almost clinches that fourth star, but slips in the process and falls into a comfortable three. Look out though, with a better script we could have another star director on our hands!
|Lights Out gets 3 stars!|