Saturday, August 6, 2016

Lights Out - Review

Rebecca (Teresa Palmer), a young woman who blatantly has no life or career of her own, tries to rescue her step-brother (Gabriel Bateman) from their mentally unstable mother (Maria Bello) and her vicious, ghostly friend who can only live, breathe, and attack in the shadows. LIGHTS OUT is an obnoxiously simple horror film that fails to be scary at any point and aggressively displays how little money and thought was put into it by its creators. Where did the $5 million dollar budget go? It didn't go to the set designers, because this has only four controlled locations (Rebecca's apartment, Mom's house, a school, and a warehouse) that all shockingly have less detail and pizzazz than an average found footage horror flick. It didn't go to first-time director David F. Sandberg, who delivers boring jump scares and visuals beyond a "shooting in fake 8mm means this is really creepy" flashback. It didn't go to the script, which has several dropped subplots, clearly cribs from J-horror tropes, never explains why no one can easily tackle a 90 lbs. spirit woman and how said woman, who has no muscles before or after her death, can lift up or drag heavy individuals. The movie even dares to to do the usual conservative postulation that women can't be fit mothers and also like things like heavy metal, which is so insulting to have in horror nowadays. I can only guess the money just all went to actor Billy Burke, who has a lame cameo in very bland opening segment. Speaking of the cast: Palmer, who is often a coin-flip when it comes to her acting, is terribly monotone and sucks all of the energy away in every scene she's in. The young twerp Bateman isn't any better, often trying to be cute only to end up being cloyingly annoying. The only person to come out of this film with dignity intact is Bello, who's amazingly unsettling as a woman caught between the people that she "loves". Sadly, she can't be like Atlas and carry this heavy burden, especially once she takes part in the absolutely trash-filled ending that just render the conflict and this entire film completely pointless. Performing a quick boo on unsuspected parties in real life is far more pleasing than siting through this amateurish junk.


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