Most horror movies will drive their audience terrified. They should. And, it’s quite rare to discover a horror cinema that makes the audience inquisitive, or mentally active. Such work is special, and I find this nature on the recent Teresa Palmer’s movie entitled Lights Out.
Paul (Billy Burke) is working in his office when his son, Martin (Gabriel Bateman), calls him, asking him to go home soon. Martin is disturbed by the fact that his mother, Sophie (Maria Bello), talks to someone unseen in the dark. Prior to leaving the office, Esther (Lotte Losten), Paul’s assistant, tells him to be careful since she encounters something strange. Seeming unaware of what Esther said, Paul keeps working for one more hour. On his way to garage, Paul discovers that he is being followed and then attacked by a ghostly creature. He finds that the creature is afraid of lights; unable to attack him under the light. Trying to evade and fight back the ghostly creature, Paul runs into studio with lights on. However, the creature is so powerful that it could launch fierce attack and brutally kill Paul after turning off the lights.
After the murder, days will never be the same for Rebecca (Teresa Palmer). Leaving her mother Sophie for years, she has to deal with the fact that Martin, his stepbrother, needs her help. Martin is haunted in the middle of the nights after the tragic death of his father by the same creature. He discovers that the ghostly creature is afraid of lights; forcing Martin to stay awake or sleeps with flashlight on. This causes him sleeps at school. Martin has no one to call when the social service agent asks for more contact person except Rebecca. She refuses Martin’s plan to sleep in her room, at first. But, what happens makes her insist on having Martin by her side; and having mild debate with social service agent . Her lover, Bret (Alexander DiPersia), sees this as Rebecca’s effort to manipulate Martin. She finds it difficult to tell her lover about Diana (Alicia Vela-Bailey), former Sophie’s friend back in mental institution when they both are still kids, who is also playing the role of cruel ghostly creature.
The condition is changed after Martin refuses to stay with Rebecca and leaves their mother alone with Diana though the ghostly creature physically hurts him. This drives Rebecca to stay for a night in her mother’s house, accompanied with Bret. That night, she discovers that Sophie is truly aware of Diana and tells her that she needs her help. To their surprise, Diana launches fierce attack to all of them, and even kills two police officers to whom Bret asks for help. Sophia finds no more solution to what Diana does that night, and it forces her to take dramatic decision to protect the ones she loves.
Lights Out is special compared to most horror movies. This works drives the audience question about reality. Diana is first perceived as Sophie’s imagined character by others since she actually is dead. Sophie denies about this fact since she can talk to her anytime in the dark. Diana is real because she can have physical contacts with her and Sophie’s family and even those who do not aware of her presence and whereabouts. However, the most disturbing fact lies at the end of the movie in which Sophie commits suicide to exterminate Diana’s existence. Diana is nothing without Sophie since she is the product of Sophie’s imagination; a powerful imagination which is able to perform physical activity, even harm human being.