Most horror films tackle a major phobia as their main inspiration. The plots themselves vary, as do the concepts, but the common denominator is almost always a single phobia. Some are more obvious than others, but they are always there – how else would anyone be afraid of a horror film? It’s simply too easy to get away with a ghost story these days – we now need something more, something special to really freak out the kids at the theater. That’s why we have movies like Lights Out –a film that obviously tugs on your fear of the dark as well as fear of ghosts.
Lights Out is a film about an entity of sorts that can only be seen when you turn out the lights. You’d think turning on the lights will protect you – but not when these things can manipulate that, too. This creature wants to harm others, and when people can’t see it that well…that’s not a very easy task.
This movie, like many horror films like it, rely heavily on concept rather than writing. It’s true, the concept of a spirit that you can only see when you turn off the lights is perfect. We often saw questionable shapes in the night as children, and our mind would then create more disturbing imagery after that. It’s only fair that a movie would attempt to do the same thing, but when you rely more heavily on the concept, you lose track something important: depth and reason.
Simple scares are easy, but they aren’t quite enough anymore. We need a reason to latch onto something in order to understand what we’re watching…and to discuss it after viewing as well. To put it lightly – the spirit in this film didn’t seem to have a real reason to be as violent as it was. I could probably list off more reasons for it not to be violent. I personally wanted to know why it was so angry at these specific individuals, and I couldn’t really find anything. I did understand that it was vengeful for another reason – but without spoiling anything – there is a valid point as to why it shouldn’t have ever felt threatened by this family. So I’m a little lost.
All in all, it felt like a movie that drew its strength from the premise and little else. The acting in the film wasn’t so bad, in fact, the boy’s acting was quite impressive for what it’s worth…which isn’t a whole lot. It’s not a terrible movie by any means, in fact, I quite enjoyed the premise. I just wish it had a little more backbone and depth when it came to the writing of the characters. That being said, if you are a fan of horror movies – you should check out the movie. You might love it. You might not, but…who am I to judge?