Grade B

A mother’s secretive past produces an evil entity that haunts not only her, but her two children (played by Teresa Palmer and Gabriel Bateman).

When Bateman’s sleepiness gets him into trouble at school, his big sister, Palmer, who lives on her own, is called in to answer for his condition and to pick him up.  After getting a quick rundown of what’s going on in the house, Palmer suspects that the entity that haunted her as a child — an entity she believed was a figment of her imagination — could be real, and is now coming after little Bateman.

With a bit of research into her mother’s past and her own, first-hand experience, Palmer realizes that her family is up against a powerful spirit that has killed before…a spirit that gains strength in the dark and is weakened in the light.  For Palmer and Bateman to have any hope of stopping the entity, they must conquer their fears and work together, and convince their frightened mother to help them.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Lights Out” is the scene when we first see the evil spirit.  It was…very frightening.  I think if that happened to me, I’d crumple up into a ball and start crying.  Not Denzel Washington crying, but Matt Damon crying.

Although this movie is several levels above the typical, horror movie out there, it does suffer from a few shenanigans, such as the main characters voluntarily separating from each other during crisis mode.  The lights have gone out, and you go off on your own to do some investigating?

Bottom line: if you’re going to watch “Lights Out” by yourself at night with the volume turned up in your home theater system, you may want to keep some lights on.

— M