art by Saint Reggie
There have been some good horror films this year, such as “Don’t Breathe.” On the other hand, there are the bad ones like “Lights Out.” “Lights Out” received some good reviews when it opened earlier this summer. The mind boggles as to why after seeing the film. If nothing else, the film proves that total darkness is not automatically scary. While films like “We Are Still Here” find ways to make a spirit in the dark scary, all “Lights Out” can give us is pointless jump scares and an extremely low body count. Another bad thing about the film is the idea that a mentally ill person could be a conduit for malevolent spirits. This is insulting to the many people suffering from mental illness, who need love and friendship, not fear. The idea that darkness equals death is likewise ridiculous. Most of us sleep in darkness and do just fine.
Audiences need to stop supporting horror films that aren’t scary. The success of “Don’t Breathe” shows that there is a real demand for a good horror film that works. But “Lights Out” should’ve gone straight to video. It resembles an even worse film from May, “The Darkness,” a really bad flick in which <SPOILER!> no one dies and an autistic boy is a conduit for demons.
“Don’t Breathe” works much better because it has a simple plot with real terror that is well executed. When the lights out, we fear for the characters because suspense has been established and the director has played fair with the audience. A smart, deranged blind man makes for a great villain,Similarly, “We Are Still Here,” a limited release horror film from last year, works because the spirits are unpredictable and have far-reaching powers. “The Shallows” uses a gigantic shark. By giving the audience a truly menacing antagonist, these films work.
Message to Hollywood: stop with the clichés and pay attention to what works. Stop using mentally ill people as conduits of demons and give us something scary and involving. And remember: darkness itself isn’t scary. Likable people in realistic jeopardy is. “Lights Out” indeed! -CoolAC