Film review: LIGHTS OUT (15)

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SHOWCASE CINEMAS PETERBOROUGH, OUT NOW

CAST: TERESA PALMER, MARIA BELLO, BILLY BURKE, GABRIEL BATEMAN, ALICIA VELA-BAILEY & LOTTA LOSTEN

RUNNING TIME: 1 HR 21 MINS

DIRECTOR: DAVID F SANDBERG

Are you afraid of the dark? You will be!

David F Sandberg took the internet by storm three years ago with his no-budget short film ‘Lights Out’, which featured a simple yet affective premise – a woman alone in her apartment sees an eerie figure appear whenever she turns out the lights, with it disappearing again the moment the lights come back on.

This three-minute short was good enough to grab the attention and support of popular horror filmmaker James Wan (the director of Saw and The Conjuring) – who serves as a producer – helping to make the feature length adaptation happen.

This horror stars Teresa Palmer (Point Break remake) as Rebecca, who moves miles away to downtown Los Angeles, assuming that her childhood fears are far behind her. As a young girl, she was never entirely sure if the supernatural being she saw when the lights went out was real or not.

Now her 10-year-old step-brother Martin (Gabriel Bateman) is experiencing the same horror, starting after his father Paul (The Twilight Saga’s Billy Burke) mysteriously died, as this ‘thing’ returns with a vengeance to terrorise the entire family when darkness falls – with the apparition also holding a mysterious attachment to their mother (Coyote Ugly’s Maria Bello).

Before stepping into the screening you could be forgiven for having concerns as to whether the concept that started as a 180-second short could be stretched out to a still relatively brisk (in movie terms) hour and twenty minutes – and whether Sandberg would deliver the goods with this being his first feature project.

Fortunately any worries were allayed as the filmmaker did an incredible job, using sound, lighting, camera movements, pacing and framing like a pro – thus creating a surprisingly well polished ‘scarer’.

It might not be the best horror film of the year, nor the most original, but it delivers the jumps, thrills and scares quickly and effectively throughout – and ticks the majority of genre boxes to come highly recommended. 
Rating: 3.5/5 Mikey Clarke

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