Movie Details

Lights Out

A young woman must save herself and her little brother from a bloodthirsty supernatural being that only appears when the lights go out. She then discovers a mystery about her family`s shadowy past.

Language: English
Subtitle: Chinese
Classification: NC16
Release Date: 18 Aug 2016
Genre: Horror
Running Time: 1 Hour 21 Minutes
Distributor: WARNER BROS
Cast: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Alexander DiPersia
Director: David F. Sandberg
Format: 2D

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Writer: Cinnamon Lion

Writer Ratings:

Watch this if you liked: "The Conjuring", "The Conjuring 2"

The Good, the Bad and the Darkness:

Nyctophobia be warned, "Lights Out" will increase your heightened sensitivity to the dark.

Produced by James Wan, whose "The Conjuring 2" has only recently been scaring money out of audiences' pockets everywhere (read: it was a box office hit), anyone expecting only the best from the filmmaker won't walk out disappointed.

"Lights Out" is a movie with a simple enough premise but it taps into a common fear shared by almost all humans, effectively making it a movie that will stay rooted in your memories long after you watch it. It is, after all, an everyday occurrence, we face darkness every day when the sun goes down.

This may be director David F. Sandberg's first feature film, but the man knows his stuff behind the cameras. Then again, the movie is a longer adaptation of his own 3-minute short film which went viral, attracting the attention of horror master, Wan.

Sandberg uses as little CGI as possible, utilising instead candles and fluorescent lighting to enhance the scenes' mood, making the whole movie more organic and relatable to audiences. Jump scares are used sparingly and only at required moments, often lulling audiences into a false sense of calm before suddenly springing the shadowy antagonist onto the unsuspecting audiences. By not overusing the scare tactic, it is able to draw out more terrified screams and gasps. Diana, the ghost, is not particularly scary in terms of looks. But you will think dearly, or maybe not so dearly, of her whenever your raise a hand to flick off a light switch. Again, a simplistic design that is more organic and grounded, making the ghost more likely to manifest in audiences' minds.

The lack of religious connotation also makes the ghost more effective as it doesn't isolate anybody, people from any background or belief, maybe even the sceptic, would feel like there is a possibility of this happening to them. Who hasn't had an imaginary friend or two when growing up? Only in this story, you bring your friend into adulthood. And that right there is another notch in the scary factor for this movie, imaginary friends - that turn out to be more than just imaginary - are often portrayed to be a child's best friend but Sandberg effectively expanded his short film into a feature by giving the adult that 'friend' instead. This throws off the balance in the mother-children relationship, because instead of the mother worrying over her children, the table is turned. Seeing the children being helpless that the one person they should be able to turn to is the one person who they have to avoid the most brings a sense of unease.

Apart from having a combo of good producer and director, the movie also benefitted from a stellar cast, specifically Maria Bello ("The 5th Wave") as the depressed mother, Teresa Palmer ("Point Break") as the protective big sister and Gabriel Bateman ("Annabelle") as the terrified young boy.

"Lights Out" is the perfect horror movie if your end goal is to mess with yours or someone else's mind every time the lights go out.

Look Out For:

• Diana scratching and scratching and scratching on Rebecca's floor (watch it and you'll know the true horror).

• One word: mannequins.


• The mannequins in the basement were not prepared by the production, they were already there, placed by the owner of the house.

• The first time Teresa Palmer found out how Diana would look like was when she filmed her first scene with the 'ghost' on a completely dark set.

Cinema Online, 19 July 2016
Effective 15 July 2011
G - Suitable for all ages
PG - Suitable for all ages, but parents should provide guidance to their young
PG13 - Suitable for persons aged 13 and above, but parental guidance is advised for children below 13
NC16 - Suitable for persons aged 16 years and above
M18 - Suitable for persons aged 18 years and above
R21 - Restricted to persons aged 21 and above only
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