Movie Reviews

Lights Out Movie Review

It’s time for another movie review presented by our friends over at FatCats Gilbert located on the southwest corner of Greenfield and Baseline. FatCats Gilbert is the best place to spend the summer, and easily the best bang for your buck. FatCats Gilbert also has the nicest movie theaters in the valley, and you can check out the latest movies at the box office in what feels like the comfort of your own home!

Here’s one I wasn’t looking forward to. Well, I was looking forward to it, but if you have read my reviews, you know I’m a huge baby when it comes to horror. Honestly, as far as horror movies go, I usually dislike them, so I guess given the reviews and that James Wan is producing the movie based on a very creepy short, I was excited for this movie. I thought it had tons of potential, plus word on the street is that David Sandberg is ready to take on The Conjuring 3, so with The Conjuring being one of my favorite horror movies, I did want to see this to gauge what he could do with my favorite active horror franchise. No, Halloween, you’re not active. No, Paranormal Activity, you either. No, Saw, you haven’t been active since 2004. Let’s talk about this movie with the lights on. All of them.

Lights Out is directed by David F. Sandberg and stars Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Alexander DiPersia, and Maria Bello. After Martin, played by Gabriel Bateman, is having trouble sleeping at night and begins to fall asleep in class, his big sister, Rebecca, played by Teresa Palmer, decides to take him into her apartment while her mother deals with depression. When Martin describes the reason he can’t sleep at night, Rebecca picks up on an old memory causing the entire family to beware of the darkness at all times.

Now, like I said, I was excited for this movie because I have heard that if Lights Out is successful, both critically and financially, David F. Sandberg could take over The Conjuring franchise. After seeing Lights Out, I can safely say that I have no clue if I want that or not. I think that Sandberg did a really amazing job shooting and coloring the movie. With the premise this movie has, there had to be a strong use of light, and Sandberg uses light really well in this movie. It doesn’t make sense to me in terms of reality, but in terms of crafty filmmaking, I thought this movie was very creatively shot and looked phenomenal. I think that Sandberg showed that he has a ton of talent behind the camera, and he works creatively. I also really liked the idea of this being that is terrorizing this family. I think that the way that the creature, or Diana, is captured and designed is really quite scary. It really adds to the way that the movie is shot and Sandberg’s use of light, which arguably is the most important thing for scares and story in the film. This movie had fantastic jump scares. There is one in particular that I really didn’t see coming, and I thought that the movie did a good job of actually getting me with jump scares because almost every single one means that a character is in danger. For the most part, every jump scare really worked for me. I also liked how the characters were used to further the plot. Though the characters weren’t amazingly well-developed, I didn’t think that there was a stereotypical expendable character in the movie which was really nice. There are really only four, five counting Diana, characters in this movie that really matter, and not one is expendable without repercussions.

I had a few problems with this movie, and the biggest one is that I’m pretty sure that none of these characters have ever seen a horror movie or are aware of how to avoid danger. I mean, it’s not super tough to deduce that they should probably stay in the light. This thing feeds off darkness, so why not turn on every light in the house from the beginning of the story? There is literally a scene where the main character walks into a room and decides not to hit the light switch, which is clearly in the shot, almost on purpose. Sandberg seems like an intelligent filmmaker. I assume he knew that the light switch was in the shot, so why does a character go into a dark house where an entire family knows that a demon feeds off darkness and not turn any lights on? It doesn’t make sense to me. There’s even a basement scene. Does anything good ever happen in a basement? I feel like all of these characters are oblivious to the obviousness that they are falling into. Next, I thought that the backgrounds of these characters were extremely forced. There is a scene early on where the main character tells you why we should feel for her in a span of about four seconds. That totally did not work for me. Finally, it was just a really straightforward film. There is nothing mind-bending or mind-twisting in this, and it’s not going to stick with me at all. I thought it had a little bit of trouble building suspense, and that’s why I won’t be affected by it. There is nothing making me think in this movie, and there is nothing that is going to mind-bend me or keep my mind racing with terror, so I didn’t think the movie was very scary.

Overall, I can say that I had some fun with this movie, but it wasn’t anything that’s going to stick in my mind or haunt my nightmares, and it’s mostly because it had some trouble building suspense. I liked the demon, and I think David F. Sandberg showed off some real talent as far as filmmaking and creativity goes, and the way he uses the camera, color, and light is very impressive. I liked that there were certain horror gimmicks it rose above, but sometimes it stayed right in the realm of some of them, and that was my biggest problem with the movie. Like I said, I did have some fun with this movie, and I would say that as far as horror movies go, this is strong as far as jump scares go, and if you want to have a little fun with some scares, maybe with a group, I would say to check out this movie. It’s definitely not my favorite horror movie of the year, but I think it’s passable, and it is better than the typical horror movie. I’m going to give Lights Out a 6/10.

Are you going to check out Lights Out next weekend? Comment and let me know? What is your favorite horror movie of the year? I didn’t get to check out The Witch earlier this year, so mine is probably The Conjuring 2. I should have reviews for both Ice Age: Collision Course and Star Trek Beyond coming this week, so be sure to stay tuned for those! As always, thank you, and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!

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Justin Lyons

Hey, it's Justin Lyons! I am the Chief Film Critic for The Pulse. Have any questions for me? Please feel free to email me at