Light’s out Loses Creepiness With PG-13 Scares

Light’s Out Film Details

Director: David F. Sandberg

Writer: Eric HeissererDavid F. Sandberg

Release Date:  22 July 2016 (USA)

Release Format: Theatrical 

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Horror Sub-Genre: Supernatural 


A woman is haunted by a creature that only appears when the lights go out. A feature adaptation of the 2013 short film, “Lights Out” by David Sandberg.

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What is a trailer Analysis?

A trailer analysis is an in depth overview to upcoming Horror, Sci-fi and Thrillers. Some film-goers are swayed by morsels of action based kinematics. Yet, often times these same film-goers leave the theater in disappointment. Presented in the trailer does not translate into the full feature production.

“Light’s Out” Overview

The interwebs is clamoring over the upcoming Supernatural Horror film “Light’s Out”. For those unaware here’s the backstory to the film. “Light’s Out” is an adaptation to David F. Sandberg’s 2013 award winning Horror short. The Horror short is also titled “Light’s Out” and is a gem of a production. The film offers a frighting set-up without the cheesy jump scare gimmicks or over the top effects. The formula behind the success of the film lies in its simplicity.

It didn’t take long before “Light’s out” went viral. The film also caught the attention of Hollywood. Horror maestro James Wan serves as producer to the theatrical adaptation to “Light’s Out”. David F. Sandberg will continue his directorial duties from the Horror film short.

This author’s hopes were set high on the meter. A film adaptation of “Light’s Out” had the potential to be a scare-fest. Yet, an analysis  of the trailer released earlier this week  swayed opinion. The concept, the structural element for David F. Sandberg’s “Light’s Out” is void. The film is a victim to Hollywood’s template based Horror film strategy.

Light’s Out Trailer Analysis

Lights Out _a

The opening scene begins with an isolated warehouse of some sort.  A wide shot of the interior presents several nude mannequins. This is a clever shot as it integrates a pseudo-occult signification with its visuals. For those wondering mannequins are representation of mental disassociation. There could be many possible angles the production team are aiming for with this shot. Is the director trying to convey a bend in reality?  Is the tonality of the film implying a fragmentation of consciousness?

The next shot follows a woman treading across the dark warehouse. Hanging garments border each side of the path. This is where cliches begin to make it’s appearance. The set-up, its a reenactment seen many times over in Horror films. Witness the typical  “spooky” interior configured with isolation, dim lighting and obscure surroundings.

Presented is the concept that ignited the short film across the internet. Actress  Lotta Losten reprises her role as the doomed light switch flicking woman. In the film adaptation to “Light’sLights Out _b out” Losten’s character is named; Esther. The light on/off sequence somehow lost its effect in this presentation. In comparison to the short film presented here is a build to a cheesy jump scare. The end of the sequence is successful in getting that jolt from the audience. Yet, it’s not sourced from the tension. Enhanced audio is the defining factor for reaction(s).

The marketing team behind “Light’s Out” is pushing James Wan’s name as producer to the film. It appears as if David F. Sandberg’s name doesn’t have much impact for box office draws. This is unfortunate considering it’s Sandberg’s vision that is being presented here. Wan’s name is superimposed on screen followed by a film credit tie to “The Conjuring”. The use of this particular film title is a clever marketing tactic. The second installment to Lorraine and Ed Warren’s supernatural adventures opens on the 10th of June 2016.

Lights Out _cChild Actor Gabriel Bateman is making an impact in Horror cinema. In “Light’s Out” Bateman portrays Martin, a child plagued by a spectral entity.  Based on the child’s testimony the sinister apparition manifests when the lights go out. The dialogue offered by the frightened young man sets the stage for the plot.  A regurgitated light switch sequence soon follow.

Let’s shed some light on this sinister entity. Offered within the “Light’s Out” short film is a grotesque child-like creature. A depiction of fear itself went into the creature concept. “The Witch” from the video game series “Left 4 Dead” makes her feature film debut in “Light’s out”. Sarcasm is at play here. Yet, the parallel between both fictitious fabrications of fright are uncanny.

The popular multiplayer survival horror game released in 2013. With this information at hand its safe to assume the entity featured in “Light’s Out” is a blatant rip off. Don’t take our word for it. The disheveled hair, lanky frame, extended fingers its all presented in the trailer. To cement this conclusion the entity from”Light’s Out” emulates a dormant stasis to that of “The Witch”. Is this supposed to be terrifying? Only if partaking in the “Left 4 Dead” video game it is.

” ..Each one of us is being haunted by this thing”

This is the foreboding voice over issued for the scene sequence that follows. Yet, its the scene Lights Out Stillbetween Martin and his mother that strikes a chord. This scene relates to the subliminal hint of mental disassociation within the trailer opening. Martin stumbles upon his mother as she is speaking with herself. The young man is frightened, perplexed by his mother’s response. His  mother insist that she is speaking with someone else when no one else is present in the room. The phantasm could be a metaphor for mental illness, this could be what is haunting everyone in the home.

Lights Out Still_b

Here’s where “Light’s Out” continues its venture into horror film clichés. The mother begins to tell the story of her friend of long ago named Diana. There is a disregard to the mystery of the film story line. Revealed within this under two-minute trailer is the entity’s introductory. Plot revealed, why bother venturing to the theaters now?

Flowing black hair veiling identifiable features is a long-standing staple in Japanese horror films.  The mother, as a young child must have befriended Sadako Yamamura.  As some may or may not know Sadako Yamamura is a character based on“The Ring” film franchise. The production team did not venture too far with their sense of creativity.  A troubled female ghost with long flowing hair, terrorizing a suburban based Caucasian family? Where have we not seen this plot applied before.

The scenes that followed immediately conjure the 2003 Horror, Mystery, Thriller “Darkness Falls”. This Lights Out Still_c
film also delves into a vengeful female spirit that attacks in the cover of darkness. The similarities between “Light’s Out” and “Darkness Falls” is staggering.

Originality, creativity and story driven narrative are elements that compose a great horror film. Interested in viewing a combination of the above? Watch the award winning Horror short film “Light’s Out”.  (Access is provided below.)

The feature film adaptation to David F. Sandberg’s is not impressive. Hollywood tainted a riveting idea and molded it into a cookie-cutter production. Despite what entertainment sources may portray this film to be, “Light’s Out” is a direct to video presentation.

What’s your opinion on the trailer to “Light’s Out”? Voice your opinion. Using the fields below.





  1. How about you wait until you actually see the movie before passing this kind of conclusive judgement about its quality?

    Trailers are advertisements. Do you base the quality and narrative success of an entire novel based on only reading the summary paragraph on the back cover? That’s exactly what you’ve done here.

    Sure, review the trailer. But it’s madness to review a movie that you have not seen, as you do in your final paragraphs above.

    • Thank you for your comment. To answer your questions:
      1. The article sheds emphasis on the utilization of regurgitated concepts within this medium. Although ideas are formulated from previous released constructs. Why emulate when creative efforts can be best used to innovate?
      2. Trailers are indeed advertisement, on most occasions these advertisements offer false representations of the product. Hence, a platform is offered for the consumer to make an educated assessment based on the analysis provided. A comparison between a trailer and a literary synopsis is flawed. Trailers are structured by marketing heads to influence audiences. On the other hand, a synopsis draw attention to actual passages within the novel.
      3. The latter part of this trailer analysis does not review the film. Insight is offered on the lack of creative effort by Hollywood. Template based film making is not entertaining. Emphasis is given on the exceptional level of production value to “Light’s Out”, the short film.

      Thank you once again for your feedback.


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