Lights Out is your jump-scare horror in the classic sense and it throws you straight in from the beginning. We don’t lose anything from the breakneck start though. The way it pieces the story together means there’s nothing for you to figure out, leaving you to simply watch behind your fingers as the story unfolds.
Lights Out doesn’t really do anything different to what’s gone before it. Again though, it doesn’t suffer because of that. I mean, who doesn’t get creeped out by the entity getting closer every time you look back at it? It’s a classic tactic that’s had audiences jumping for years.
What Lights Out has focused on is the simplest fear of many a youngster; the dark. It plays on that fear with the smallest of tweaks that’ll have you sleeping with the light on when you get home. I know that’s a massive cliché for horror but it’s genuinely how I felt as I left the cinema.
From darkened closets, darkness under the bed and power cuts, if the lights are out, there’s simply no escape from what’s hunting you. On that note, it really works and unlike your Paranormal Activities of the world, the action starts straight away and lets you know that you’re not going to be able to relax from the get-go.
As for the story, if we’re honest, you’re not expecting Alec Baldwin standard dramatic delivery from this kind of movie. For a movie just under an hour and a half though, it actually does alright. There’s enough character development to engage you and even make you laugh and feel anger at certain points.
As we reach the finale, we have the standard Cop cameo and the hatching of a plan to defeat the ghoul. Pretty bog standard stuff that’s actually enjoyable and deserving of a solid 4 stars out of 5. Then the ending happens.
It’s by far the worst climax I’ve ever seen in any horror movie. It’s so hammy, George Lucas wouldn’t touch it and it’s so out of place to what’s gone before it its criminal. It’s almost as if it was knocking off time for David Sandberg and he was already 15 minutes late leaving the office. To give you a bit more context, this ending would have been bad in an Arnie film.
If you leave the cinema when the movie is at about 1 hour 10 minutes, you’ll have a much better impression of Lights Out than if you stay until the end.
3* - Leave the lights on and set your alarm a little earlier.