Things move fast in Hollywood. Just three weeks ago, we showed you the trailer for the low-budget horror film Lights Out. And just last week, we gave you a complete review of the movie, and now we’re learning a sequel is being developed just one week after its release.
According to a report from Deadline, director David F. Sandberg will return to direct the sequel. James Wan will stay on as a producer, and Eric Heisserer might also return to write the script. That means the heart of the original film will be returning, which is usually a good sign for a sequel.
This news isn’t too surprising. Lights Out opened last week, bringing in over $27 million domestically against a $4.9 million budget. As we have said before, it’s all about the money in Hollywood. They should be able to produce the sequel for under $10 million and possibly make even more money considering the audience will already know and trust the team behind it.
It’s certainly been a wild ride for Sandberg. As most of you probably remember, this project started out as a three-minute short film. Three years later, it’s making millions at the box office as a full-length feature.
We don’t know if any of the original actors will be returning for this sequel, but we will keep you posted as more information is released. They usually move pretty fast with these horror sequels, so we shouldn’t have to wait too long.
Dinner with your family. A hug from a stranger. Katy Perry songs. A stick of Fruit Stripe gum.
What do they all have in common? They’re all acceptable for a short amount of time. Lights Out started as a short film directed by David F. Sandberg, and it was an outstanding one. Coming in at just under three minutes, the simple premise managed to find a large audience and it ended up going viral. The buzz surrounding the short film got the attention of some powerful producers in Hollywood, and now three years later Sandberg is making his major directorial debut with an extended version of the short.
Did it deliver? Or will you leave the theater wanting to suffocate yourself with that plastic bag Katy Perry is always singing about?
The film starts out with a satisfying nod to the actress (Lotta Losten) who starred in the original short film. Just like in the short, we see her working that light switch. Turn the light off, the creature appears. Turn the light on, and the creature disappears. Sounds simple enough, right? Just keep the lights on and you’ll never have to worry about getting mauled by Diana.
Yeah, Diana. The creature has a name, and it (she?) also has a surprisingly deep backstory. Most movie monsters are monsters because, well, the movie needs a monster. It’s like when you order a shake from a fast food restaurant and they dump a pound of whipped cream on top. Ask why they did it, and they’ll say, “I dunno…shakes need whipped cream,” and you accept that answer because no one wants to be that ungrateful customer complaining about receiving extra sweets for free.
Diana is more than just whipped cream though. She’s a friend. A childhood friend of Sophie (Maria Bello), the disturbed mother of Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) and Martin (Gabriel Bateman). As the events play out, we learn that Sophie and Diana were both treated at the same mental hospital when they were children. Diana had some rare skin disorder that made her sensitive to light. Any exposure to it would cause extreme pain and disfigurement. Doctors at the hospital tried to fix the condition by basically treating her like a human Hot Pocket and blowing her up in a microwave-like setting.
Ever since then, Diana has been haunting Sophie and killing her husbands, but she never touched Martin and Rebecca because Sophie wouldn’t allow it. That all changes when Rebecca and Martin attempt to save their mom by trying to force her to take her medications to get her back to a healthier state of mind. A mind strong enough to fight off Diana.
As you might expect, things don’t go as planned. The same style of scares are repeated throughout the movie, so you shouldn’t go in expecting to jump out of your seat. There are several chill-inducing moments though, and they are mixed with some genuinely funny moments. There are at least two scenes in the film that had the entire theater laughing as if they were watching a comedy. And just to be clear here, they weren’t laughing AT the movie.
They were laughing with it.
It wasn’t all good though. Lights Out is sprinkled with cliches, the story felt a little rushed at times, and while Rebecca’s boyfriend Bret (Alexander DiPersia) provided most of the laughs, his constant need for reassurance during the worst times got a bit tiring.
Overall, it’s a decent horror flick with a powerful ending, and you won’t need a plastic bag after you leave the theater. But you’ll probably want to leave the light on for a few nights. You know, just in case Diana is real.
(4/7 on the Gary Busey rating system, which refuses to end at 5 like normal rating systems)
It’s rare for any film to land a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but it’s even more rare for a horror film. The James Wan produced ‘Lights Out’ is one of those rare films. Yeah, there have only been 7 reviews counted so far, but those reviews are coming from some respected critics.
Director David F. Sandberg makes his major directorial debut with the film, and it’s been an interesting ride to the big screen for Sandberg. This project started out as a horror short that went viral online. The three-minute short is a simple scene featuring a woman being terrorized by a creature in the dark.
The short got the attention of James Wan. A producer friend showed him the video, and while Wan was impressed, he still wasn’t fully convinced until he actually had a meeting with Sandberg.
“He had a lot of really smart things to say. People think it’s easy to make a horror movie that works. It’s not, that’s why there’s a lot of crap out there. To find a director that gets this stuff I go, ‘All right, this is what we’ll do. We’ll support him, we’ll give him the tools, we’ll give him a bit of the money that he needs to make the movie.'”
And it looks like Wan made the right decision. As mentioned above, critics are absolutely loving the movie, and the trailer is making a lot of noise on YouTube. You can check out the official synopsis and trailer below. It’s scheduled to be released July 22, 2016, because no one releases horror movies in October anymore.
“When Rebecca left home, she thought she left her childhood fears behind. Growing up, she was never really sure of what was and wasn’t real when the lights went out…and now her little brother, Martin, is experiencing the same unexplained and terrifying events that had once tested her sanity and threatened her safety. A frightening entity with a mysterious attachment to their mother, Sophie, has reemerged. But this time, as Rebecca gets closer to unlocking the truth, there is no denying that all their lives are in danger…once the lights go out.”