Saturday, August 13, 2016

Phil sees LIGHTS OUT from Warner Bros. Pictures/New Line Cinema - August 6, 2016

It looks like 2016 is shaping up to being one of the best years for theatrically released horror films. So far films like THE FOREST, THE WITCH and the recently released THE CONJURING 2 have been receiving enormous amount of critical praise and boxoffice success. For myself, it's been an extremely long time since I've seen this many great horror films in my local theater. I find myself feeling like a kid again, sneaking off with my friends to see the latest horror film and getting the Holy Hell scared out of me. With all of this in mind, the new release from Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema LIGHTS OUT continues this outstanding onslaught trend of horror delights!

Theatrical Movie Poster
The film's official synopsis: When Rebecca 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, 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, 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.

Right out of the gate, the film plays with that old childhood fear that you used to have: the fear of the dark. Who wasn't scared of the dark when they were little? It's this primal and all-to-real fear that haunts you when you're watching the film. Now take that fear and crank it up to eleven! Based on his short film, writer/director David F. Sandberg (along with co-screenwriter Eric Heisserer) deliver the goods with a script that contains relatable characters, social commentary and terrifying scares! These two men deliver the goods with a film that made the whole audience I sat with scream and jump out of their seats! Also, Sandberg's directing is sharp, precise and clean; maximizing the full screen with disturbing visuals and sounds.

Within the story, there's also this underlying theme of loneliness. Sophie is lonely cause she's lost her husband but also her daughter Rebecca, which causes her to keep her youngest son Martin as long as she can. However, due to her mental health, she's lost her mind and so he feels alone and lost as well, leading him to his estranged sister. Rebecca is alone as well, unable (or should I say reluctant) to allow her "friend" Bret to get close to her, feeling abandoned after her father left her alone with her mentally ill mother. As you can see, the feeling of loneliness can also lead to the fear of being alone: alone in life, alone in love or in the case of the film, alone in the dark. 

Bringing the film to life also requires talented people in front of the camera. Lead actress Teressa Palmer has made a name for herself in Hollywood. One of the most underrated actresses, she's appeased in films like DECEMBER BOYS, RESTRAINT, WARM BODIES, THE CHOICE and POINT BREAK. She is one of the most well-rounded actresses out there. One look at her body of work proves that she is going to be one of the biggest names in Tinseltown. Palmer's portrayal of Rebecca is one of the best performances in the horror genre! Smart, vulnerable, fragile and brave, she really brings this character to life in a way that is both believable and relatable. Maria Bello is just fantastic and can do no wrong. Look at her in PAYBACK, DUETSCOYOTE UGLY, THE COOLER, THANK YOU FOR SMOKING, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, TOWELHEAD and BEAUTIFUL BOY. This women processes an astonishing ability to connect with the audience with each role that she takes. Maria Bello is a legendary actress in my book!

The movie was produced James Wan, one of the most important figures in modern horror history. The man has brought us films like SAW, DEAD SILENCE, THE CONJURING series and the first two INSIDIOUS films. Now Wan has expended his horizons, helming FURIOUS 7 and has been hired to direct the upcoming AQUAMAN movie for the DC Expanded Universe.

LIGHTS OUT is one of the best horror films of 2016 that will scare the hell out of you!! The film contains all the markings of a modern day horror classic! Seeing it on th big screen in a blackened theater will only heighten your fear of the dark! So make sure you don't see this film alone! 4 1/2 our of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

LIGHTS OUT is currently playing in theaters nationwide, including the Century Greenback 16 Theaters in Sacramento. Check your local listing to see if it is playing at a theater near you.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show! 

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