Lights Out – USA, 2016 – reviews


Lights Out is a 2016 American supernatural horror feature film directed by David F. Sandberg (Annabelle: Creation) from a screenplay written by Eric Heisserer (Bird Box; The Thing (2011); Final Destination 5; A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)), based on Sandberg’s 2013 short film of the same name.

Co-produced by James Wan (Insidious; The Conjuring) for New Line Cinema, Atomic Monster and Grey Matter Productions, the movie stars Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman,  Alexander DiPersia and Billy Burke.

The soundtrack score was composed by Benjamin Wallfisch (IT: Chapter Two; Annabelle: Creation; IT; A Cure for Wellness).


When Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) left home, she thought she left her childhood fears behind. Growing up, she was never really sure of what was and wasn’t real when the lights went out… and now her little brother, Martin (Gabriel Bateman), is experiencing the same unexplained and terrifying events that had once tested her sanity and threatened her safety.

A frightening entity with a mysterious attachment to their mother, Sophie (Maria Bello), has reemerged. But this time, as Rebecca gets closer to unlocking the truth, there is no denying that all their lives are in danger… once the lights go out.


Reviews [click links to read more]:

Lights Out has been made with a certain degree of style—enough to make you want to see what Sandberg might be capable of with a better screenplay … For the most part, though, the film is just a tired tread through the usual elements…”Peter Sobczynski, review

“While the central visual of the figure in the dark goes a long way to provide the essential scares, the success of the film is just as much about what the filmmakers do to develop the characters that the audience cares about. At just under 80 minutes, Lights Out is the perfect length to not overstay its welcome, but it also ends the story in a satisfying way where sequels wouldn’t be necessary.” Edward Douglas, New York Daily News review

Lights Out is yet another half-baked, PG-13 scare-em snoozer centered on an underdeveloped supernatural concept that won’t even give kids a good nightmare … Lights Out’s greatest feat is how you can feel yourself forgetting this 81-minute piffle as you are actually watching it. That really takes something.” Jordan Hoffman, The Guardian review

“Sure, some scenes are visually eerie, but the majority of the film’s jump scares are from cranking the volume WAY high on a scream or sound effect that was loud enough or high pitched enough to begin with. I enjoy it once in a while in films, but to have the bulk of the motion picture depend on this is disappointing…” Simon Rother, review

“The story spine is strong enough, and performances are on the nose (with Bello as the most complicated character), but Sandberg essentially comes up with a string of situations in which lights (light-bulbs, wind-up torches, candles, phone-screens) fail … it’s a lot fresher than, say, the flagging Insidious cycle or other franchise wannabes like Ouija and Annabelle.” The Kim Newman Web Site review


“With an unnerving monster at its core, great cast and relentless final sequence, Light’s Out is a debut director Sandberg should be proud of. A clunky script occasionally loosens its grip on the nerves, but chances are Diana will still have you sleeping with the lights on for a good while after leaving the theatre.” Lucy O’Brien, IGN review

“This is a movie about depression that treats the afflicted like little more than gigantic burdens on their families, right through to an ending that carries the toxic implication of that attitude to its logical conclusion. If you’re going to lend your B horror film a stealth social-issues dimension, you have to be aware of what stance on that issue you’re intentionally or unintentionally taking.” A.A. Dowd, A.V. Club review

“Very obviously a first feature, Lights Out is full of camp (most of it clearly intentional, some perhaps not), and its underlying mythology is confused and often ridiculous. But there’s an invigorating leanness — and a giddy, almost innocent energy — to the filmmaking, with Sandberg shooting for nothing more than inventive, relentless jolts…” Andrew Barker, Variety review

“Nobody liked the Lights Out short because of the characters or the monster or the “story”; they liked it because it got under their skin. By stretching it out, building a mythology, and putting laughably bad dialogue in people’s mouths, Sandberg hasn’t just stripped his movie of scares, he’s hobbled his own skills as a filmmaker.” Randall Colburn, Consequence of Sound review

“Production value is high with nice visuals, great use of sound and Diana, our creepy, dark loving, light hating spooky woman, is very well realised. On top of that the films cast really deliver. Gabriel Bateman, as Martin, is a likeable young actor, conveying fear of Diana and love for his going a bit cuckoo Mum, Sophie, played by Bello, who manages her role well, never going too far with the crazy.” Tony Sands, UK Horror Scene review

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Main cast and characters:

  • Teresa Palmer … Rebecca
  • Gabriel Bateman … Martin
  • Alexander DiPersia … Bret
  • Billy Burke … Paul
  • Maria Bello … Sophie
  • Alicia Vela-Bailey … Diana
  • Andi Osho … Emma
  • Rolando Boyce … Officer Brian Andrews
  • Maria Russell … Officer Gomez
  • Elizabeth Pan … Nurse
  • Lotta Losten … Esther
  • Amiah Miller … Young Rebecca
  • Ava Cantrell … Teen Diana
  • Emily Alyn Lind … Teen Sophie
  • Ariel Dupin … Young Diana [uncredited]

Filming locations:

Los Angeles, California

Technical details:

81 minutes | 2.35: 1 | Dolby Digital


Lights Out was released in North America on July 22, 2016 by Warner Bros.

On July 27, New Line Cinema announced that as the $4.9 million-budget film had already grossed $27 million domestically and $35 million worldwide, a sequel is going ahead.

David F. Sandberg soon confirmed he will return to the directorial chair for Lights Out 2. The film eventually took a whopping $148,868,835 at the box office worldwide.

5 Comments on “Lights Out – USA, 2016 – reviews”

  1. I really liked it, story could have been better but the horror elements were kinda interesting and kept my interest. Defiantly not the same as the short but thats what happens when you try to get two hour entertainment.

  2. I only saw it today, I found it really good. It moved at a good pace and never let the tension slacken. Unlike The Conjuring films, it didn’t overstay its welcome. It definitely took a few cues from The Babadook, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

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