Lights Out ain’t The Babadook, people



By Steve Newton

Lights Out is a new horror flick about a murderous ghoul that you can only see–and get terrorized by–when the lights are out and its silhouette is visible. Illumination renders the thing harmless, so there’s a helluva lot of victims-to-be sprinting for lightswitches and fumbling with flashlights in this movie.

That’s basically all it is, in fact.

Maria Bello plays Sophie, the depressed mom of a scared young boy Martin (Gabriel Bateman) and rebellious adult daughter Rebecca (Teresa Palmer). All three are struggling with the pain caused by the opening-scene murder of their husband/father (Billy Burke), whose workplace didn’t have adequate lighting to keep the aforementioned ghost-bitch at bay.

Turns out the Mama-like being, known as Diana, has an unwavering attachment to Sophie because they attended the same mental institution as kids before Di got vaporized by some primitive form of electroshock therapy. Now the pesky apparition just wants to hang out in the shadows at Sophie’s big ol’ house and scare the shit out of her kid.

Lights Out is based on director David F. Sandberg’s three-minute short of the same name, but when producer James (The Conjuring) Wan decided to flesh it out into a feature he shouldn’t have hired the same screenwriter who cowrote the bogus remakes of A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Thing. The dialogue often comes across as phony and forced, just like the obtrusive Avenged Sevenfold poster strategically plastered on Rebecca’s living-room wall.

It’s obvious that the film wants Diana’s threatening presence to be seen as a metaphor for Sophie’s deteriorating mental state, but the flimsiness of the script and the so-so performances–including Alexander DiPersia’s comic-relief role as Rebecca’s lovestruck boyfriend Bret–don’t muster up the required weight for that.

This ain’t The Babadook, people.


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