Based on his 2013 short, Lights Out is Swedish director David F. Sandberg’s feature film debut. Making a scary short is one thing, keeping it scary for an hour and a half is something entirely different. Which becomes obvious about twenty minutes into this movie.
The long version, written by Eric Heisserer, focuses on a little boy named Martin (Gabriel Bateman) who, along with his bipolar mom (Maria Bello), is haunted by an evil female figure called Diana that materializes when the lights go out. Then Martin’s estranged and older sister Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) comes to the rescue, along with her boyfriend Bret (Alexander DiPersia), who looks like he could play in Creed.
Because Diana can only appear in the dark, Rebecca, Martin and Bret mostly run around trying to get away from her while keeping the lights on. Unfortunately, there are only so many light sources to play with in a house and the movie loses steam fast once you hit the halfway mark, resulting in a third act that’s about as scary as Finding Dory.