Leon van Nierop
2 minute read
22 Jul 2016
1:51 pm

‘Lights Out’ puts a face to our fears

Leon van Nierop

Spooky: the movie is another great addition to the horror genre.

Lights Out. Picture: www.digitaltrends.com

The horror movie has risen from the grave. After years of neglect, poor sequels and lame imitations, this year brought two fright fests that scared the living graveyard out of audiences. They managed to reinvent drowsy horror techniques and respect the number-one rule of the genre: scare your audience again after they screamed the first time.

The Conjuring 2 and The Other Side of the Door managed to tease the horror potential from ordinary situations. They transcended the monotony of previous attempts, such as The Pyramid and The Woman in Black 2. Where horror movies were once banished to the bottom of the popcorn box, they are now achieving a new status.

The R8-million box office success of The Conjuring 2 has proven horror’s resurgence, even in South Africa, where horror seldom works. In Lights Out, we meet a woman, Maria Bello, who brings a cruel force from an asylum that haunts her children. They try to banish the monster back to hell. Lights Out takes you to the origins of horror so evident in the early Draculas and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde: the eerie interplay between light and shadow and the creative use of sound.

Here we meet an ominous presence who can function only in complete darkness – the horror director’s best friend. Its fiendish silhouette and tortuous form, which hover in doorways and in shadows, will haunt many of your worst nightmares.

And don’t forget the defective torch that always fades during an attack, or, in this case, has to be wound up before its faint light can penetrate the darkness. But producer James Wan, who certainly must have had an influence on this film, and his director David S Sandberg, take the horror of darkness a step further by applying a fluorescent light that can penetrate the darkness to expose what we thought we saw. It puts a face to our fears.

Another plus point is the provocative use of sound in the form of soft creaks; silence and barely audible movements are the film’s main protagonists. This horror drama will turn your blood to ice. You will sleep with the lights on tonight.

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