Lights Out: What You Need To Know
Over the last few years, a little-known Swedish animator and filmmaker known by his Youtube channel name of Ponysmasher has been making waves amongst horror film fans with a series of no-budget short films that are low on production values, but big on imagination.
His real name is David F. Sandberg and one his short films, Lights Out, caught the attention of director James Wan, a man who knows a thing or two about creating horror films on small budgets having been the director behind films like Saw, Insidious and The Conjuring.
Wan was so impressed by what he saw that he approached Sandberg about producing a feature-length version based on the film's concept, handing Sandberg his first proper directorial debut and helping him source the funds to bring his idea from Youtube to the silver screen.
Lights Out debuted in cinemas earlier this year and this week the film arrives in stores on Monday (December 12th) on DVD and Blu-ray. Here's everything you need to know...
Who's in it?
The film's cast is lead by Teresa Palmer (Point Break, Knight of Cups) and young actor Gabriel Bateman, who fans of Wan's films will recognise from The Conjuring spin-off Annabel. Prime Suspect's Maria Bello also has a major role, while the rest of the cast includes Andi Osho, Alexander DiPersia, Billy Burke and Rolando Boyce, the latter of whom you may recognise as Rufus from R. Kelly's 'hip-hopera' Trapped in the Closet.
What's the plot?
A factory worker notices a strange figure hovering in the shadows that seems to disappear completely when the lights are turned on, only to suddenly reappear when they are off. Freaked out, she tells her boss Paul (Burke) about what she has seen, but is ignored. Moments later, Paul is attacked and killed in a gruesome manner by the shadowy figure.
Meanwhile, Paul's stepson Martin (Bateman) finds his mother Sophie (Bello) talking to somebody in the living room of their home. Sophie has a documented history of mental illness and initially Martin thinks that his mother is just talking to herself, but then he notices the shadowy figure too.
Unable to sleep in the same house, he is taken to stay with his older sister Rebecca, despite his mother's protests. That night Rebecca awakes to find the shadowy figure in her flat and narrowly avoids an attack. When Martin returns to his mother's house, Sophie tells him about a friend of hers called Diana, a girl she met in her youth while they were both at a mental health facility.
Diana, she tells Martin, suffered from a rare condition that made her skin photosensitve and explains that she was killed in horrific circumstances during an experiment which exposed her to bright light. It's only then that Martin and Rebecca begin to realise that Diana is the shadowy figure behind the attacks and that Sophie may be under Diana's control.
Does it deliver?
The last few years have seen an impressive array of low-budget horror movies enjoying commercial success, with films like It Follows, The Town That Dreaded Sundown and The Purge all punching above their weight at the box office. Lights Out is another you can add to that list and if you enjoyed the films mentioned above, this is well worth a look. You can find a trailer for the film below...