Lights Out (2016)

(On Cable TV, April 2017) While Lights Out isn’t a great horror movie and isn’t likely to become much of a reference, it is competently executed and reasonably good for an avowed genre effort. The mythology may not make much sense and the film often struggles to get out of rote narrative elements, but the direction (by first-timer David Sandberg) is effective and the film doesn’t overstay its welcome at barely 81 minutes. The best sequence, should anyone ask, has to do with the boyfriend character (a type usually doomed to third-act death) thinking fast and using his car key fob to good effect. The ending also has an impact, featuring the always-good Maria Bello. This isn’t the first time that “monster only seen in darkness” has been used, but the less said about Darkness Falls the better. Lights Out has a better chance to be remembered as a worthwhile if unspectacular horror film—especially if Sandberg goes on to bigger and better things. It should be noted that Lights Out, with its emphasis on sight, has a clear kinship with other sense-centric horror movies of the moment such as Hush and Don’t Breathe: an intriguing mini-trend in barely nine months.

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