The Dark Power
released 19 aUGUsT 15 | 81 minutes Director david F sandberg Cast Teresa Palmer, Maria Bello, Gabriel Bateman, alexander diPersia
The concept of something nasty lurking in the darkness is a primal fear, and one that’s been exploited by horror movies from the moment the genre was born. So it takes a brave filmmaking team to tackle a subject that’s been explored almost to death. Fortunately, Lights Out benefits from the producing guidance of James Wan, no stranger to giving old concepts a fresh breath of air. And talking of fresh, the man calling the shots is David S Sandberg, who parlayed some successful short films into a chance at something a little bigger, but had never directed a fulllength feature before, let alone a big studio film.
Expanding Sandberg’s most successful short, the script from Final Destination 5’s Eric Heisserer stitches a tale of a dysfunctional family and mental illness to a fantastic scary story that ranks among the year’s best. Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) is an emotionally distant young woman who’s grown up in the shadow of her mother Sophie’s (Mario Bello) depression. That darkness included a mysterious creature called Diana who haunted Rebecca’s days and nights. Now, as her stepbrother Martin (Gabriel Bateman) starts to see the same things, she realises Diana is a much more real threat than her mother’s fragile mental state might indicate.
Sandberg’s background as a jack-of-all-trades filmmaker means that while not every moment works, he still makes good use of practical locations and effects, knows how to stage an effective scare and ensures the movie whips along with pace and panic, staying hair-raising to the end. It’s a promising start for the director, and hopefully as his budgets increase, he’ll maintain what makes Lights Out perform so efficiently as a fright-delivery system. Jim Blakey
Stays hair-raising to the end
The director’s wife and short film collaborator, Lotta Losten, cameos as Esther in the first scene.
Darth Long Hair stalked into the arena.