Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Overlook Theatre Reviews: David Sandberg's, Lights Out

of 8 viewers "Liked" "Lights Out" (USA, 2016)
Here's what the creatures had to say:

Dabbles - "Lights Out definitely amplified my fear of ghosts, especially since it has something to do with light play. I like that this movie knows the audience. We've all had times where things freaked us out in the dark. Sounds, silhouettes, and imaginations can easily creep anyone out, but the "lights on, lights off", or "red light green light" fun this script had with its characters kept me in suspense. With every quiet moment I kept looking in the shadows or the dark side of the screen to make sure nothing was coming out. The only thing that knocked it down a star for me, is some of the explanations or background info that was portrayed, it felt like it was tacked together for the sole purpose of this movie. Those simple and subtle explanations could have made alot more of an impact on this simple idea of a ghost that can harm you in the dark. But I'm just being knit-picky. Other than that, it's a great movie to see and wind up sleeping the next 2 nights with the lights on." - 4 Stars

Speed Demon - "Intensely creepy! What really stood out for me with this film was how simple and to the point it was. Interesting all the way through. Great job of keeping you on edge and anticipating what was to come next. Somewhat likable characters and okay jump scares.The back story segment of entity and the mothers relationship was pretty lame. Dumb pictures and a recorded doctor interview seemed totally unnecessary. An entity with this kinda power, I'd have to say, is pretty damn frightening." - 3.5 Stars

Clark Little - "I don't want to tell any tells out of school, but in Lights Out, darkness brings shenanigans. It's premise doesn't bring home any blue ribbons, but the execution of the cast propel this through the muck of the summer cash grab movies. The movie delivers us an unruly, melanin-deficient sprite that only attacks when the lights are... Yeah you got it. I think that we can all agree that the worst kind of ghost, is a feral, unkept one that won't let you go to "beddy-bye". Maria Bello is superb. It's her performance and matronly actions in the story that keep the lights on." - 3 Stars

KillDozer - "If you are looking for something "fun" nothing more nothing less, like watching an episode of Tales from the Crypt, then Lights Out is for you. The look was polished and professional, the sound hit in all the right jump scares, and the practical effects worked great and meshed well with the digital. If you viewed the amazingly effective and creepy short film by the same name and wanted more, then your wish has been granted. I did not feel cheated out of my money because I received everything I wanted; a basic fright film with a slightly original plot, some solid acting, and a running time that proved the film makers were very self aware. I do look forward to seeing what writer/director David F. Sanberg comes up with next and I actually hope that PG-13 horror is here to stay because, like an independent film, being held back by budget or studio restrictions can really inspire some amazing things sometimes." - 3 stars (collection worthy because it is like owning an episode of your favorite anthology horror show)

The Impostor - "2013 brought us a pretty creepy short film by David F. Sandberg called Lights Out. It spread pretty quickly across the internet and social media. Now we get a full length film based on the short and produced by the great James Wan who I feel recognizes legitimate scares and creepiness. The trailers don't do the film justice and I definitely suggest checking this out because you won't be dissapointed. Lights Out brings back childhood fears of the dark and unknown. The creepiness is super effective and realistic, a lot better than many recent horror films as of late. The acting and character development are well done and progressed perfectly with the storyline. Lights Out felt shorter than the 90 minute runtime but the pacing and story keeps you intrigued beginning to end. Last but not least, the ghost is sinister, intense and creepy all at the same time. It played out great on screen, but the cons I'd say is the constant back story. I feel knowing less would make it much more scary, but for the storyline and metaphors used I completely understand why this was done. Overall, a solid, very well done film. I definitely recommend it. Day one bluray purchase for sure." - 5 Stars

The Creature of the ComiCombs - "Lights Out was a pretty good movie. It's pretty clear early on that this a story about mental illness. Nothing was over done and the pacing was right. The monster was good in this one, through most of the movie you only get a creepy looking shadowy figure which is pretty terrifying. My biggest complaint is in the way we're given the why and how of it all. It happens so quickly and feels forced. Overall it's worth checking out." - 3 Stars

Lord Battle - "Lights Out is the perfect horror movie to see with a date. The premise exploits one of everyone's base fears (the dark) and has effective imagery/jump-scares, features a loving and sympathetic boyfriend who's trying to break through to his guarded girlfriend, and no religion, so you don't need to worry about a possibly awkward conversation. And if you're worried this film maybe be a little to straight forward, for you seasoned veterans, there is a underlining theme of mental illness that's either pretty interesting or slightly offensive." - 4 Stars

Huntress - "Lights Out was full of reasons why I still get uneasy in the dark. I got really tense and during a couple of scenes couldn’t help imagining myself in those same situations, crumbling to the floor, especially with how hard of a time I was having just watching characters go through it. This film is rough - it’s a well made story centered around a very basic and universal fear. And I love that it had a tribute to the short film it started as in the very beginning if the film. Minor issues aside, this film really messed with me." - 4.5 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
(Below is for after you've seen the film)

"This guy has what it takes, and it's really hard to find filmmakers that get these things. People think it's easy to make a horror movie that works. It's not, that's why there's a lot of crap out there. To find a director that gets this stuff I go, 'All right, this is what we'll do. We'll support him, we'll give him the tools, we'll give him a bit of the money that he needs to make the movie, we'll surround him with a good crew. And hopefully that will let him be creative as he can be.'"
- James Wan, Excert from an interview with the LA Times

James Wan is credited as Executive Producer for Lights Out and normally this offers little to no insight on whether or not the person was actually on set, let alone had a hand in creating the film. And after some slight research, it seems James Wan definitely had an impact on this film, and in more ways than one.
James Wan didn't exactly discover David F. Sandberg, but he did mold the ghost-story horror sub-genre into the modernized money making machine we've come to know and love, and in turn set the scene for films like Lights Out. The ghost-story auteur James Wan has a few major hallmarks that have become commonplace in his films and Lights Out conjurers up all of them. The first being the treatment of religion. James either takes it head on like in The Conjuring or leaves it alone completely like in Insidious. This is a huge departure from the common trope of contacting a spiritual champion to fight for your family and Lights Out will be the second successful film to also ignore this trope (excluding Insidious 2 &3). Lights Out also has a definitive climax/ending. The old genre norm would have an abstract ritual that is loosely understood by the characters, feels incredibly tacked on, and only half feels like it worked. But Lights Out not only has an ending, it's got a dramatic climax that builds on the mythology and ends with a bold period. And lastly, what kinda James Wan-esque horror film would be complete without the man's signature symbol, a creepy doll.

Lights Out, the original short.

- Lord Battle

The Overlook Theatre materialized on 7/24/2016 for the 7PM show at Century Tanforan.
*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not effect the rating.

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