Lights Out is a step above mediocre

Martin (Gabriel Bateman) deals with the monster who his mother was communicating with.

Music. The beach. Money. A bowl of unsalted peanuts. Everyone has a passion. Mine? Mediocre horror movies, though it’s a mediocre passion.

And boy, when I saw the trailer for Lights Out I got excited, or more accurately, mildly enthused. I was even more enthused when I got to go see it for free, the profits of which I spent on Five Guys. It looked as mediocre as any horror movie I ever did see. To add to the typical jump scare fare, it was touted as being by James Wan, who is actually a pretty good horror writer and director. It neglected to emphasize that he neither wrote nor directed it — the oldest trick in the book for marketing mediocre horror movies.

This movie begins with some guy (Billy Burke) getting killed. For a second, he looks like he’ll be a main character, but his assistant sees a ghost thing that moves closer when the lights go out, and next thing we know, he’s sliced by finger knives or something — kind of like Freddy Krueger, I guess. The assistant is OK though, and leaves for the rest of the film, presumably alive.

It turns out the guy is married to some crazy woman named Sophie (Maria Bello), whose hobbies include neglecting her children, an act she perfected on her daughter Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) — who’s now fully grown and resents her — and her son Martin (Gabriel Bateman). Sophie has a big house, despite having no job, but I guess her now-dead husband’s job at a mannequin factory paid the bills.

Martin is having trouble sleeping, because Sophie has an imaginary friend she talks to. Only the imaginary friend is an evil semi-ghost thing, so Sophie is only half-crazy. A few subplots later, Martin goes to live with his older sister, but the ghost thing follows them, and they have to face their fears.

Rebecca is supposedly irresponsible or something along those lines, living in some pigsty in the dumpy part of town, but her apartment looks really nice. I guess she’s got a bong and lives above a tattoo parlour, but her worst sin is shilling for Avenged Sevenfold in obvious product placement.

I liked the movie. It was alright — a few shades above mediocre. A solid six-and-a-half or seven out of 10.

There were no big surprises, but it was thoroughly entertaining. I did, however, think the kill count was pretty low. For an evil ghost thing, the Lights Out monster did relatively little damage. The ghost-thing initially had finger-knives, but I guess it decided throwing people against walls was a more effective form of killing — a theory that I can’t stand by.

If you see one movie this year, probably go see something else. But otherwise, I’d recommend it. Probably.

PS: When using the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine, use normal flavours. My vanilla-flavoured Coke tasted more like orange-flavouring. Now that was truly scary.