Tuesday, June 27, 2017

More Like Shadows In, or Thoughts on Lights Out

Psychological thrillers don’t need supernatural twists (and vice versa); it’s distracting and unfocused.  However, Lights Out (2016) has a moody, atmospheric start as a shadowy figure stalks a textile warehouse after hours.  It’s stylish and intriguing, with most of the scares coming from clever usage of sound and lighting that preys on our natural fear of the dark.  It’s one movie I regret not seeing in the theater; being surrounded by all that darkness would have enhanced the experience.
I’m usually not one to complain over an abundance of plot, but it’s a complicated story that falls apart under its own weight.  Maria Bello is Sophie, suffering from schizophrenia and talking to an imaginary childhood friend, Diana.  Theresa Palmer from Warm Bodies (2013) is Rebecca, her adult daughter, and the movie, confusingly, is related from her perspective.  It’s an odd directorial decision considering what a class act Mario Bello is.  Maybe they didn’t have the budget for her, and shot all her scenes in one day.

From first time Swedish director David Sandberg and produced by James Wan, it’s never exactly clear if Diana is a ghost or a demon or some psychic manifestation of Sophie’s.  We do know that she’s sensitive to light, likes to hide in the shadows, and really likes to kill.  Sometimes that’s enough for a movie, and Lights Out had a huge box office of over $150 million and currently holds a rating of 75% on Rotten Tomatoes. 

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