Lights Out (2016)

Lights Out (2016)

Blair Bowen, Staff Writer

I recently watched “Lights Out” a horror movie from 2016 that I remember all my friends in junior high talking about at the time. They said it was really scary and kept them up at night so I was curious if it would still do the trick 5 years later. After watching it, I’m not sure which is scarier: the actual movie or the fact that 2016 was half of a decade ago. All things considered, I liked the storyline and the characters weren’t complete idiots, something all too common in horror movies.

In the first scene, a worker in a creepy textile factory goes into the basement and sees the silhouette of a peculiar women with claw-like hands, but when she flips a light switch, it’s as if nobody was ever there. This shadow freaked her out to the core so she frantically tells her boss about what she saw, but he just brushes her off and tells her it’s nothing and she’s probably just overreacting. Typical. Well, the joke’s on him because he ends up getting killed by the shadow figure anyway so it doesn’t really matter.

His stepdaughter is then called into her brother’s school by CPS due to worries about the young boy’s home life. He keeps falling asleep in class and they can’t get a hold of his mother. The agent questions the stepdaughter, Rebecca, about their living conditions. She reveals that their mother, Sophie, has bipolar disorder. Martin mentions to Sophie that their mother has been talking to a strange woman named Diana, but she assures him that she is not real and it’s just his imagination. The mother and daughter get into an argument after Rebecca discovers that Sophie has been neglecting to take her medication, so she takes Martin back to her house to stay. Later that night, Rebecca wakes up to the same shadowed-woman that killed her father, hearing scratching on the floors. She narrowly misses an attack by the clawed creature when she turns the lights on, but the next morning she notices that the name “Diana” was sketched into the floor of the house. At this point, she’s going absolutely bonkers. She wholeheartedly believes that Diana is real and Martin wasn’t making it up. She goes into her deceased father’s office and discovers medical records stating that their mother, Sophie, was housed in a mental institution when she was younger, where she met Diana. Diana’s father had sadly committed suicide and she also had an unfortunate skin disease that left her vulnerable to verbal abuse and berating. The staff at the hospital attempted to do some experimental tests on her involving sunlight, but the surgery ended up taking her life instead. Rebecca and Martin set up an intervention with Sophie to tell her that they know who Diana is and they want to find out more information. Sophie says that she can’t help them but secretly asks Rebecca for help, hinting that Diana will not let her go. They spend the night at Sophie’s house, much to Diana’s dismay because she locks Rebecca and Marin in the basement and cuts off the power for the neighborhood, while trying to kill Rebecca’s boyfriend, Brett. Talk about bitter. Brett escapes from Diana and comes back to the house with two police officers who rescue the two from the basement, but not before Diana kills them. She tells Rebecca that she killed her father, Paul, years ago. Rebecca becomes furious and Sophie comes out with a gun pointed to her head. She realized that she was Diana’s tether to the real world, so if she shoots herself nobody can be haunted anymore. Sophie dies and Diana vanishes from existence.


Overall, it was a good movie and kept me entertained which is the whole point. But the ending was pretty anticlimactic in my opinion and I didn’t form a connection with any of the characters. I mean, the movie was only an hour and a half long so there wasn’t really any time to get into the family’s backstory or delve any deeper in their past. Their personalities were all pretty flat and I really really dislike when film villainize mental illnesses, ESPECIALLY bipolar disorder. It seems to happen too frequently and it’s not only offensive, but the plot gets old. Also, why is it that every troubled family in a production seems to have a McMansion? They never seem to live like the rest of us and I just don’t understand why Hollywood feels the need to glamorize family problems. Besides that, I thought the plot was clever and parts of it did keep me on the edge of my seat, but I didn’t get so scared I couldn’t sleep that night which is how I know a horror movie has been successful in my eyes. It also annoyed me that Martin, who was in about 2nd grade keep in mind, had the maturity of a really chivalrous high school senior. As if a man could ever. 7/10 stars