It’s time for a fairly recent horror movie. This one actually managed to be fairly decent as far as horror movies go. Unfortunately, it slipped up towards the end of the film. The ending may not be as terrible as something like The Innocents, but it’s certainly still a Debbie Downer. It may not be winning any awards from me, but you could certainly do worse if you’re looking for a quick scare before Thanksgiving is upon us.
The film starts off in an abandoned toy factory esque place. The assistant notices that someone has broken into the building and warns her boss about this. He basically tells her that he has no time for games so she leaves. Afterwards, he gets ready to leave, but the creature attacks him and the guy doesn’t live through the experience. It’s a fairly solid way to start the film off and it isn’t even all that violent. For once, the scene is actually handled fairly well and the creature’s design was pretty good. Honestly, I felt like the whole film should have taken place in that shadowy store.
Moving along, the creature is named Diana and she has become friends with Sophie, Rebecca’s Mom. Sophie and Diana have become quite close and that’s why Diana wants to murder all of Rebecca’s friends. She can’t let anyone come in between them. Unfortunately, this is having a negative impact on Martin, Rebecca’s brother. Child services get involved and Rebecca decides to keep Martin for a little while. The board won’t have it so Rebecca has to head back. She decides to spend the night, but will she be able to vanquish Diana or is it all over for her?
The film seems to lose its sense of direction at several points, which is where things get rough for it. For example, Diana is shown to be a fake friend. She is just using Sophie because she wants the Mom to feel the same sadness that she felt. Okay…but her plan only works if Sophie ends up being messed up. Unfortunately, that is the case as Sophie doesn’t mind being thrown around since she believes that she deserves it. Sophie’s a pretty terrible character as she puts Diana before Martin and Rebecca several times. She seems to want to be a good Mother, but then back pedals at other points. At one point, she gives Rebecca a letter saying that she needs help before she is dragged back into the darkness. So, Sophie seems to be somewhat aware of the fact that Diana is not her friend, but then forgets it again. I suppose it’s just part of her whole Martyr disposition, but it definitely doesn’t do the character any favors.
Diana’s power level also seems to fluctuate quite a lot. In some scenes, she can’t stand the light to the point where she won’t go near it. By the end, she’s going through the light no problem. It burns her, but she can take the heat long enough to do whatever she wants to do. She has a good amount of super strength as she can throw people around and quickly stab others, not to mention that she is also bullet proof. At the same time, the heroes can struggle against her quite effectively so maybe she’s a little weaker than Captain America. Regardless, she makes for a good villain, but not really a great character. I’d prefer her goal to simply be “Destroy everyone” or something rather than just sparing people sometimes and attacking in others. Going after Martin seemed like a random move towards the beginning when they were watching a film. Wouldn’t that instantly destroy her “friendship” with Sophie? I imagine that it would override her current condition. Diana also took a while to make her move since we find out that she has been around, even when Rebecca was a kid. I guess she just didn’t attack if you didn’t get in her way.
The main problem with the ending is its one of those classic “I can’t beat the villain so it’s time to exit the game” moments. It’s portrayed as the right call of course, but it’s definitely not the best way to win. There wasn’t really any other course of action in this example, but that just makes it all the more tragic. Not to mention the fact that the character’s reputation is going to be slung through the mud now since nobody will know the truth.
As per usual, the cops don’t look so good here. You can’t blame them quite as much this time since they are up against a monster that can easily defeat them, but they still could have handled the situation better. The cops take a while to find the main characters and even once they do, they don’t do a good job of handling the situation. They clearly know that they’re dealing with someone dangerous, but they still don’t watch their distance. They did try shooting at least, but one of the cops just waved the main character off when she tried to give some advice. It’s a good thing that Rebecca had a lot of survival skills earlier because those were more dependable.
I can’t say that I was really a fan of Bret. He does help out a lot and certainly does better than most horror characters, but he’s just not that likable. The scenes with him trying to show Rebecca that she is making the wrong move didn’t really go over well. Taking Martin definitely seemed like the right call although she did handle it in a pretty sour way. He may have been right, but he started off rather accusing so it makes sense that Rebecca would get defensive. Rebecca got to be a decent character by the end although the beginning makes sure to show you why she’s not a good role model for Martin. She certainly went far with the whole rebellious streak.
This is another horror film that doesn’t play out as you would typically expect it to. The body count increases by the end, but it’s more of a slow burner as Diana doesn’t do anything for quite a while. It works well to an extent and as I mentioned, this is technically one of the better horror films. On the other hand, it means that there isn’t a whole lot for Diana to do except give us some fake jump scares. I can live with that if it beats the alternative I suppose.
Overall, Lights Out isn’t half bad. The film never has a gritty moment just for kicks and the whole film is rather chill when it comes to that. The monster is fairly good and the backstory is rather tragic while not being over the top. The characters may not be great, but they are better than their counterparts. On the other hand, the romance with Bret and Rebecca is fairly poor. It just reminds you why these two are going to have a hard time trying to win custody. The ending isn’t very good either and it was hard to really get Diana and Sophie. Sometimes they acted rationally and other times they did not. Sophie really could have handled this whole debacle a lot better and if Diana was serious about destroying everyone, she could have really done it at any time. She waited too long due to plot hax. If you’re a big fan of horror movies then this could be a decent one to check out. If you want a film that I could recommend to everyone, check out Scooby Doo: Zombie Island!