GUEST CRITIC #14: Lights Out
As busy I get from time to time, I find that I can't see every movie under the sun, leaving my friends and colleagues to fill in the blanks for me. As poetically as I think I wax about movies on this website as a wannabe critic, there are other experts out there. Sometimes, it inspires me to see the movie too and get back to being my circle's go-to movie guy. Sometimes, they save me $9 and you 800+ words of blathering. In a new review series, I'm opening my site to friend submissions for guest movie reviews.
Meet Emmanuel Noisette of Eman's Movie Reviews. He is an emerging film critic tackling both written and video reviews. His YouTube channel is must-watch and automatic subscribe material. Emmanuel is a colleague of man with the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle (CIFCC).
Eman's Movie Reviews, with its 13,000+ Facebook followers, seeks to give the average moviegoer a quick, spoiler-free review of a movie to help people know if a movie is worth their time and money. Emmanuel encourages people to comment on the reviews and share their thoughts before or after seeing the films. He also humbly asks that no spoilers be given out, out of respect for others who have not seen the movies. His method is giving you The Good, The Bad, The Reason, and a rating of the films.
Horror films are not my strong suit. Eman loves them. I enlisted him to share his website's review of "Lights Out" on mine. I shared my "Fathers and Daughters" review with him last week.
Well this movie wasted no time at all to get the ball rolling with the horror. Rather than build up the creepiness and anticipation of the scary moments, it's simply thrown right at you from the very beginning. The ghost/monster thing (who I like to call "Dirty Diana") was pretty terrifying even though all you could primarily see is a dark figure. As usual, I will give this some points because it is pretty original in the sense that this is a fresh, new angle to approach horror characters. The concept of playing on the fears of darkness while being crippled to the safety of light is one we all can relate to from our youngest childhood fears.
My favorite character has to be "Bret" played by Alexander DiPersia. I can't go into detail about what he does or doesn't do, but I will say that got a round of applause during my screening of the film. His character possessed a much needed element that a lot of horror movies tend to lack.
Almost all of the characters, except for Bret, are pretty annoying. Their naivete and incompetence invoke instant eye rolls. I mean they go beyond just the "Oh what's that? Let me go investigate" level of stupidity. Many of the of the main characters KNOW what they're dealing with (or just that it exists) and still act clueless about handling the situation. When characters get that dumb, it completely distracts the audience from taking this film seriously. Matter of fact, the idiotic actions of the characters make this movie more comical than scary.
Speaking of which, for a horror, this was a pretty lackluster. Yes, there were plenty of jump-scares. However, the setup for them felt so rushed and, even worse, predictable. Despite having James Wan (Insidious, The Conjuring) as a producer, very little use of his style of setup and delivery were utilized. The film could've easily borrowed aspects of the first Insidious film which created an atmosphere in which you had no idea when something scary was going to happen, or if it was sitting right in front of your face the entire time.
This movie is what it is. It's a basic horror film, that was inspired by a really good, award winning horror short movie. (Watch the original short here.) This was a pretty forgettable film that sadly won't have you taping your light switches on at night. If you did decide to see this, this would probably be a good date movie or something to see with a group of friends. You'll probably get a bigger kick out of laughing at the movie rather than going to get some real terrors. Feel free to see this as a matinee or wait to watch at home. Maybe if you watch it at home with the lights off it may make the movie just a little bit scarier.
The Rating: 6/10
Thank you, Eman! Let's keep this going. Friends, if you see a movie that I don't see and want to be featured on my website (and get a fun fake biography written about you), hit up my website's Facebook page and you can be my next GUEST CRITIC!