Halloween Countdown : Lights Out

Another recent and wildly successful horror release, raking in almost $150million at the box-office from a lowly $5million budget. But does a healthy return mean it's actually any good?

Lights Out (David Sandberg, 2016) has a nifty premise: the malevolent entity menacing a family can only be seen, and can only hurt them, when the lights are out. So you would just keep the lights on, right? Well, not if you exist in a horror film. Hands up if you think there's likely to be a power cut? Or a faulty torch? Or people peering into dark shadows when they should really be GETTING THE FUCK OUTTA THERE!!!?? Yes, this is heavily reliant on using dimly-lit scenarios to generate its jump-scares, but these shocks are all expertly delivered - one in particular caught me massively unawares. So it's pretty good fun when it's trying to make us jump. It is less successful when it's trying to make us care, though, with some clumsy moments of exposition, as it throws light on the back-story of the characters. It means there's not much emotional connection to the characters compared to those in the superficially similar, but much superior The Babadook from a couple of years ago. Nevertheless, at only 82 mins this won't run down your batteries and may just be the perfect excuse to get your loved one clinging to you in the dark shadows. But if that's still too long for you, why not try the 2min short film (also called Lights Out) which got Sandberg his big break after it went viral online. Watch it below.

A full list of films in the Halloween Countdown 2016 is here

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