Friday 29 July 2016

Lights Out ... Have no fear

HORROR film Lights Out by Swedish director David F. Sandberg, based on his short film of the same name, is not scary.
   It's got competent editing, music and acting to send some shivers down viewers' spines. But the film's real theme is the fear of familial abandonment, which is reflected when a creepy creature appears only when there's no light.

   Viewers will see the creature, called Diana, killing only two people, which is done off-screen. There are also a couple of ingenious moments: someone uses the glare from his handphone to ward off the creature, and in another scene, beeps on his car headlights to repel the thing.
   This 81-minute film won't scare the bejesus out of viewers. After all, how many times have you seen a character being dragged under a bed by an unseen creature? What is satisfying about this film is that the characters are well written.
    Mario Bello's Sophie is haunted by the fact that her first husband abandoned her and daughter Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) when the latter was 10.
Teresa Palmer watches out for Gabriel Bateman.
   Rebecca eventually abandoned her family and now lives in an apartment, where she smokes bong and has weird-looking posters.
  She's been in a relationship with Bret (Alexander DiPersia) for eight months but is adamant that he does not stay over.  This is due to her fear of him packing up and disappearing from her life.
   His attempt at leaving a sock in her drawer is good-naturedly shot down.
  Sophie's second husband has just been killed by Diana, and it's left to her again to raise their son, Martin (Gabriel Bateman), on her own.
   During a tense confrontation with Diana, Rebecca assures Martin that she'll come back for him. The boy is sceptical and tells his half-sibling that she had once left him and their mother.
   Rebecca discovers that her depressive mum was once in a psychiatric institution when she was a kid, and it was there that she befriended Diana.
   Sophie and Diana have an unusual co-dependent relationship, with Sophie telling Diana that the latter can't survive without her.
Palmer finds that blue is the warmest colour.
   Viewers see Sophie wanting to break free from Diana, but the latter's spell over the blonde is spellbinding.
  The small cast work well together and give their best shot, even if the film's short and lacks a full array of scary surprises.

3 out of 5 stars

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