• Guy Jeffries

Lights Out Review


Director: David F. Sandberg.

Starring: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Maria Bello, Alicia Vela-Bailey, Alexander DePersia.

I remember seeing this short horror, viral video a couple of years ago as it was scaring people, including myself, across the web. Coming from Swedish no-budget horror short-filmmaker David F. Sandberg, otherwise known as Ponysmasher on YouTube and other social media platforms. He won the best director of the 2013 Who's There Horror Short Film Challenge. Here's the original short should you dare to watch it.

I'm assuming Horror director/producer James Wan (Saw, Conjuring, Insidious) watched the original video and had to back Sandberg's work and develop it into a full feature length film. It always pleases me to see something like this happen, like Kung Fury and Hardcore Henry.

It's shares a few story elements from other existing horror films like The Ring, The Grudge and Insidious and whilst not entirely unique, it is superbly done and quite unpredictable. The trailer doesn't give too much away as it might suggest. They've kept it simple and it works, trying not to stray from a working formula.

Aussie model and actress Teresa Palmer, who looks like a younger Naomi Watts, takes the lead as she tries to consul her younger half-brother Gabriel Bateman, who incidentally already has a list of horror film credited to his name, even for his age. Credits such as Annabelle, Outcast and American Gothic. He's having issues at home with their mother, Maria Bello who seems to be having a some sinister kind of relapse, something Palmer is familiar with. But it's this Diana that the story is all about, who can only get at you in the shadows.

Diana herself (played by stunt double extraordinaire, Alicia Vela-Bailey) is a great creation even if not solely original. Her hands, her stance and her voice work perfectly well and actually preferred the silhouette and glinting eyes over seeing her in the flesh.

The rest of the cast does just as good as the leads, especially devoted, needy, boyfriend Alexander DePersia who I at first look, mistaken him for GoT's Daario, Michiel Huisman. Good to see Brit comedienne Andi Osho and it's a nice touch to see the original victim from the short, Lotta Losten who also happens to be Sandberg's wife.

Only downside is that it's not that scary, though that doesn't mean it's a write-off, it's tense in parts with a good modern spooky score from Benjamin Wallfisch, but there's no great shocks, in fact, there's some comical bits which gladly, doesn't ruin the film. It's a great all-rounder horror film and fans of the short should enjoy. It certainly reminds of when you were once afraid of the dark and might have you sleeping with the light on!

Running Time: 8

The Cast: 8

Performance: 8

Direction: 8

Story: 7

Script: 6

Creativity: 9

Soundtrack: 8

Job Description: 7

The Extra Bonus Point: 10 for being a great extension of the short film.

79% 8/10

#DavidFSandberg #TeresaPalmer #GabrielBateman #MariaBello #BillyBurke #AlexanderDiPersia #AliciaVelaBailey #AndiOsho #LottaLosten #JamesWan #BenjaminWallfisch