Despite what Internet complainers say, the horror genre has been enjoying a fantastic year. It has been a banner year for horror on TV with The Walking Dead, Bates Motel, The Exorcist, Fear the Walking Dead, American Horror Story, The Strain, and more and in movies we had The Conjuring 2, Don’t Breathe, Hush, Ouija: Origin of Evil, The Purge: Election Year, The Boy, The Other Side of the Door, Train to Busan, The Girl with all the Gifts, Trash Fire, I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House are all great flicks that represent a year not of typical fare but a nice variety of stories that keep things interesting. Out this month is another one I loved, Lights Out, based on a short film that was an Internet sensation. Lights Out did fantastic at the box office making almost $150 million worldwide on a $5 million budget confirming that low budget horror is definitely a winning proposition for studios.
Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) is concerned about her younger stepbrother Martin when their mother Sophie (Maria Bello) breaks down after her husbands murder and she starts talking to an imaginary friend named Diana. Rebecca takes Martin in and begins to investigate the story behind Diana when Rebecca remembers her mother also talking to Diana when she was a child. But digging into the past might bring up more than information as Rebecca not only confronts her mother’s demons but could also end up endangering all of their lives.
Lights Out was a fresh story experience in horror as it didn’t concern an unknown spirit haunting an unwitting family but a presence that is not only seen by a main character, in this case Sophie, but holds regular conversations with it. It’s like the character herself is being haunted and not only acknowledges Diana but is content with living with her. And as the story progresses it is an interesting tale that keeps you engaged and has some great scares along the way. The ‘Lights Out’ effect that made the short film such a hit is used to great effect here and although it would have been cooler if we had never seen the short film, it is still effective and very cool. Lights Out is an old fashioned ghost story executed in a cool and fresh way, definitely recommended.