Occasionally, I like to take a break from the twisted world of horror films but don’t worry, I do not travel far at all. I scour the Internet to see what has been introduced on the short film circuit instead. It amazes me that I am never short of great content; without further ado, Lights Out.
Lights Out – Short Film – Clip
So what did you think? I personally think that this is one of the best executed horror films that I have seen in a long time, and this is despite the reveal of our antagonist at the end.
The film starts with the woman clearly settling down for the night and as she turns the light off, we are dropped in to that all too familiar place; you know, the one where we think that we see something in the darkness that has suddenly enveloped the room. The dark figure we see at the end of the corridor is the embodiment of what is supposed to scare us the most – the fear of the Unknown.
The figure is there and it is real but that’s about as much as we know. Borrowing from the realist tradition, we are not given many clues as to what is going on; the narrative is not important, the characters are.
As the woman flicks the light on and off, we expect that each time, the eerie shape will appear closer – this is not the case. What happens instead is both simple and genius in its execution – Nothing happens for the first few times. The figure remains where we first saw it as the corridor is repeatedly plunged in to darkness. This is a great build of suspense because it is unconventional in comparison to the traditional horror. When the figure eventually does appear, it is right in our faces. The over the shoulder shot makes us relate with the woman and it truly makes you jump.
In such a short amount of time we learn so much information but mainly the purpose of the light. No vocal cue needed, just the image of the woman taping the light switch in place – clearly our antagonist resides in the darkness. Like so many horror films before it, the light is the safe zone and the dark spells trouble. Somehow though, Lights Out seems fresh in its approach.
The suspense continues after the woman runs to her bed. Perhaps this is so prominent because of the relationship that the safety of bed has to many of our childhood memories? If you have ever tucked yourself in to the covers, afraid to leave a leg outside, you will know what I mean.
Eerie noises and the impending creaks from the hallway keep us on the edge of our seats as all of these sounds lead us towards the belief that this unknown thing is approaching. As soon as the light goes out in the corridor we are once again shocked. This thing is not just her imagination. It’s real.
The lighting is used again to display a flickering lamp and the woman is forced to conjure up all her courage to put her arm out of the safe zone that she has made within her bed. She firmly pushes the lamp back in and restores the light and foolishly we believe that she has vanquished the evil presence.
Wrong. We see a strange creature with a creepy and psychopathic grin staring right at her after she gains the confidence to come out from under the covers. Usually, this would be the point that I am disappointed, the reveal, but instead I’m unnerved.
The fear that I had as a child, that fear of the dark, never really went away. We all lie to ourselves and try to believe that it’s in the past but we in reality, we fear the unknown. The dark is the Unknown.
This film builds suspense like no other and it does it in a fraction of the time-frame that others do. David Sandberg and Lotta Losten tapped in the fear that we all try so hard to suppress and done it in only a couple of minutes, this truly amazes me and scares the Hell out of my inner child.
I welcome the though of a feature by these two.