Lights Out (2016)

Director: David F. Sandberg (Lights Out short film)

Starring: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Alexander DiPersia, Maria Russel, Andi Osho, Alicia Vela-Bailey. 

Plot: Rebecca (Palmer) must unravel the mystery behind her younger brother’s terrifying experiences that once tested her sanity, ultimately bringing her face to face with a chilling entity that has latched onto their mother.

So David F. Sandberg is the director behind the short film that took the internet by storm, Lights Out was a 2013 short movie (available to view on YouTube), what made it so popular was its simple setting, it made our own paranoia a nightmarish reality. We’ve all been in the situation, it’s late, we’re tired, we flick the light switch off and we have that thought “Did I just see something?” burrowing into our mind, we get in bed and try to shrug it off “It was my imagination” we reassure ourselves. But what if we did actually see something? 

So fast forward three years and we were blessed with a feature length movie! This time we see the entity terrorising a mother and her children. It’s fascinating to see the backstory of Diana (Vela-Bailey), she was merely a child with some medical complications, we see her brought to life and she really is the stuff nightmares are made of, she looks like she stands about 7 foot tall, with elongated fingers and crooked limbs.

So this is Sanbergs first major project, aside from a number of short films, and I really believe he took a few pointers from producer James Wan (Saw, Insidious, The Conjuring). With a well thought out storyline sprinkled with jump scares and some excellent shots, Lights Out is certainly a horror movie for the ages. Maria Bello who plays the mother, Sophie, really is a character to watch, she acts as an enabler for Diana, because she can’t let her go, she allows Diana to exist and wreak havoc.

Overall I think Sandberg did an impressive job to extend the storyline and really turn up the creep factor, it had me scared in every sense of the word, the last 35 minutes of the film are just a constant grip of nightmares like tension. Let’s just hope Sandberg can keep this performance up with the upcoming Annabelle: Creation, which is set to release on August 11th (2017). From me Lights Out receives a whopping 7 broken lightbulbs out of 10. That’s all from me guys, stay scary, and remember to stay in the light. 

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The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)

Starring: Jill Larson (Deborah Logan), Anne Ramsey (Sarah Logan), Michelle Ang (Mia Medina), Ryan Cutrona (Harris), Brett Gentile (Gavin). 

Director: Adam Robitel.

Plot: a daughter and her mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, let a film crew come into their home and film a documentary about her ailing health. Throughout the duration of the film they uncover a much darker presence fighting inside Deborah. 

I don’t like found footage, there I said it. HOWEVER! Deborah Logan provided me with a huge reason to enjoy the style of film. It just seemed so real, I think the crew definitely handled the subject well, as we all know, mental health is a very touchy subject but they tackled it tremendously. 

Jill Larson was a real winner in the way she pulled off her performance, the way she presented herself as the lovely Deborah Logan, a sweet old lady with old fashioned manners, with a stern side, a very straight minded lady who could hold her own.

Like a lot of found footage movies, this didn’t need the blood and gore that other movies rely on, Deborah Login pulls you into its visceral storyline with mere intrigue and mystery surrounding who, or what, is actually going on inside her head. It’s interesting to see an actress change throghout the course of a film, not just their characteristics but there visual appearance, below are a couple of images showing the transformation she undergoes. 

So the top picture is Deborah as she is made up for her interview with the film crew around a third of the way through the film, note the vacant expression on her face, this shows that although she looks healthy, there is more going on than we know. The bottom image, is Deborah nearing the end of the film, you can clearly see the changes that have been made, her early self is glowing, fresh faced, but the later image shows her blue, gray complexion as not only the illness, but also the evil entity that has taken over her body, comes more and more malevolent. 

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this viewing, I’m going to award Robitels’ flick a 3.5 serpents out of 5.