When her little brother, Martin, experiences the same events that once tested her sanity, Rebecca works to unlock the truth behind the terror, which brings her face to face with an entity that has an attachment to their mother, Sophie.
Starring: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, and Maria Bello
Directed by: David F. Sandberg
Written by: Eric Heisserer, and David F. Sandberg
For those who might not know, “Lights Out” was originally a short film. The short film went viral on the internet, the right people saw it (James Wan), and then production began on the feature film version. Being a promoter of horror, it’s awesome to see so much success for a short film. Being a horror movie reviewer, the question is if the feature film can be as successful.
To start, the short film basically introduces audiences to the entity, and how it behaves when the lights go on and off. The feature film expands on this, and gives the entity and the people it haunts a story. The entity, Diana (Alicia Vela-Bailey), has become attached to Sophie (Maria Bello), a long troubled mother of two. Her older daughter Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) has escaped her mother’s trouble and lives alone while her young son Martin (Gabriel Bateman) is still at home with Diana and his mother. Fearing for the safety of his mother and himself, he asks for help from his sister.
The story sets up nicely giving audiences characters to care about particularly Martin. It also has a decent backstory for Diana and her attachment to Sophie. However, there are a couple of things about the story that slows down the film. One is the investigation that Rebecca and her boyfriend Bret (Alexander DePersia) do after realizing that Diana is real. Another is the family arguments over things like Sophie needing help, and where Martin should live. There’s even arguments between Rebecca and Bret over what’s best for Martin.
All the slowness takes away any momentum that the scares build. Diana proves to be a very creepy character not only cause of the whole light trick, but because of her figure and movements. The film starts with the now popular scene from the trailer where a woman is trying to turn off the lights at work, but sees a figure in the distance. It’s a good scene even though it would have been nice if they dragged it out a little longer. She provides some other decent scares, including a great scene of her chasing Bret.
Taking a short film which amounts to a small scene in a feature film, and turning that into a full length movie can’t be easy. “Lights Out” gives it a good try by providing a good story, and characters worth rooting for. It definitely creates a creepy entity who gives the audience some decent scares. Unfortunately the pace is too slow while building the backstory for Diana, and with some of the character interactions. Also, the ending is disappointingly predictable. While it will probably have some box office success, I have to give this movie 2 pools of blood.
Years after sparing the man who killed his son, former police sergeant Barnes has become head of security for Senator Charlie Roan, a Presidential candidate targeted for death on Purge night due to her vow to eliminate the Purge.
Starring: Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, and Mykelti Williamson
Directed and written by: James DeMonaco
“The Purge” ends up being just another home invasion type horror movie missing out on all of the chaos that’s happening in the streets. “The Purge: Anarchy” takes a hold of what the Purge really means, and lets the audience in on the chaos and violence in the streets. It almost seems like the two movies would have worked better in reverse order. With two movies down, where would “The Purge: Election Year” take this story?
Well early on it almost seems like the movie is going to follow the original. Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) has taken a hard stance against the annual Purge, and her opponents are looking to stop her one way or another. Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) is back, and this time he’s in charge of protecting the Senator. They hunker down in her house with as much protection as possible, but audiences can guess what happens next. Audiences are saved from a repeat of the original!
With that said, the story hits the streets where it truly belongs, and starts to feel more like the sequel. Instead of trying to purge, Leo is protecting the Senator from dangers around every corner, and running into different characters along the way. Also, the movie gets more into the storyline of the lunatics who support the Purge versus the people who want it to come to an end.
It’s nice that they continue this storyline, but the meat of the Purge is the chaos and violence in the streets. There are several decent moments of terror including a crazy bunch of girls. They try to terrorize a local store owner, who puts up a good fight with the help of some friends. Also, Leo and the Senator all run into to few interesting traps along the way. However, it’s hard not to feel like they could have done so much more to hit on the violence of the situation.
Here’s an example of a franchise that seems to get a better feel for what they’re trying to accomplish as the story goes on. They found a good lead character, and put in him in the middle of a political war that has taken to the streets. With that said, there’s still more they could do to please horror fans like focusing more on the violence instead of just getting quick moments of it. While the story seems to wrap up well, they do leave the door cracked for another movie. In the end, “The Purge: Election Year” does a good enough job of following up “The Purge: Anarchy,” so I give it 3 pools of blood. Oh, and don’t forget about this movie while you’re voting for Hilary or Trump!