Every “Hollywood” studio executive dreams of a small budget film (low risk) scoring big bucks at the box office. When a major summer film, with a production budget in the stratosphere, is about to open there are a lot of sleepless nights. A mega-bomb can be a career-ender.
But in the case of director David F. Sandberg’s Lights Out, it was like a much needed vacation from the stress of worrying over big budget, CGI heavy summer “tent pole” film productions — will they bomb? So when this particular theatrical release has a budget — reportedly — under $5 million and proceeds to pull in $65.5 in ticket sales, champagne corks are popping!
Lights Out and The Shallows were two of the biggest surprises this summer. You can throw in writer/director Fede Alvarez’s Don’t Breathe as another low-risk/high reward entry. With the exception of some comedies, the bulk of the summer theatrical release slate was full of the expensive and the all-too-familiar, some of which needed foreign intervention just to get near the breakeven points (others, well, not so lucky).
With this said, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment announced this past week that Blu-ray and DVD editions of Lights Out will be available on Oct. 25 (just in time for some Halloween scares) … the ARR comes in at 95 days.
David F. Sandberg is what you would call a Hollywood dream … a filmmaker from nowhere who hits it big. He did some animation work, made some short genre films and was just getting by, but then in 2013 his short film titled Lights Out, which was short, even by short film standards (clocking in at just about three minutes), became a viral sensation.
So by June of last year he was directing a feature-length version of his film, with “veteran” writer Eric Heisserer (Final Destination 5, The Thing, Hours, etc.) helping him to adapt his short concept film to that of a feature-length chiller.
It gets better. His wife, Lotta Losten, was the “star” of the short film and got to reprise her role in the form of the film’s opening hook!
She works in a warehouse full of department store mannequins and becomes convinced that one of them is not what “it” appears to be. It has something to do with the lights being on or off … she warns her boss, vacates the premises and we watch this “it” rip him to shreds.
From then on Lights Out is a marvelously constructed thrill ride that revolves around the ex-wife and stepdaughter of the poor guy, Paul (played by Billy Burke), who was the victim of the thing that lurks in the dark.
Teresa Palmer (The Grudge 2, Parts per Billion, Point Break, etc.) is Rebecca, the stepdaughter, she has a little brother named Martin (Gabriel Bateman — Annabelle) and their mother, Sophie is played by Maria Bello. Throw in Rebecca’s boyfriend, Bret (Alexander DiPersia), and you have all the cast members you need … anyone else is a sure-to-be members of the victim pool!
Basically, Lights Out is a really well-done haunted house thriller — swiftly paced at just 81 minutes — with a backstory as to the source of the terror being filled in nicely as we go along (from jolt to jolt). A rumored “sequel” is in the works, which is what every studio loves … a new franchise!
Bonus goodies are limited to deleted scenes.