When you’re able to see dead people, you’re also able see the negative spirits that roam this world. As a psychic/medium, I now know how to protect myself from harmful entities…but as a child…I slept with the lights on. The house, in which I lived in until I was seven, was haunted by a nasty elderly woman. The only thing that kept this ghost from entering my bedroom was an old lamp. In “Lights Out” our antagonist has her work cut out for her. Who will win? Grab your flashlight and follow me.
When my daughter first mentioned “Lights Out” I assumed she was speaking about the old television show from 1946, but she was talking about the 2016 supernatural horror film directed by David F. Sandberg which stars Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Alexander DiPersia, Billy Burke and Maria Bello. The film is based on a 2013 short film by Sandberg.
The first time we see the spirit is at a factory when a secretary (Lotta Losten who was in the short) sees a frightening female figure whenever she turns out the lights. This female vanishes as soon as the lights are turned on and the secretary warns her boss, Paul (Billy Burke), to be careful. Paul brushes off the warning because he is busy speaking on the phone to his son, Martin (Gabriel Bateman) about his mentally disturbed wife, Sophie (Maria Bello) who has gone off her medication and is now talking to an imaginary friend. Paul tries to comfort his son with the promise that he will see Martin very soon. Paul never makes it home. He is viciously attacked by the apparition.
Martin knows the name of Mom’s imaginary friend, Diana, and he knows that Diana is freaking scary and malicious. Unfortunately, Sophie has this weird loyalty to this spirit and pays no heed to her son even knowing that the child is not sleeping because he fears for his life. After the school nurse fails to reach Sophie because Martine has been falling asleep in class for several days in a row, she reaches out for Martin’s half-sister, Rebecca.
Martin’s sister, Rebecca (Teresa Palmer), has issues with long-term commitments. Her boyfriend, Bret (Alexander DiPersia) wants to move in, but Rebecca is afraid that he will take off just like her father (Sophia’s first husband).
When Rebecca and Bret pick up Martin at school, Martin tells his sister about Diana. When Rebecca realizes that Sophia is not able to care for Martin, she takes the boy back to her apartment…but Diana makes a very frightening and unexpected appearance that jolts Rebecca’s own childhood memory.
Diana, played by Alicia Vela-Bailey, is one hell of a scary imaginary friend. She is always seen in shadow form, and we only see the barest of features in the dark, but those eyes and sharp claws are enough to keep you jumping in fear.
Through the course of the film, we learn who the real Diana was and, what her connection to Sophia is. This entity is wicked to the bone and although we try to prepare for her frequent drop-ins, her entrances are still shocking.
Lights Out is the perfect ghost story that blends the emotional disconnection of a clinically depressed mother with a sister’s desire to protect her little brother from a truly horrific spirit. The only way to stop Diana is to keep the lights on.
Watch the film on demand. I give it an A+… I bet you won’t be able to sleep with the lights off.