Lights Out

The injection of humor into screenwriter Eric Heisserer's script enfeebles director David F. Sandberg's take on the hoary haunted house scenario. The result is pedestrian, predictable, and inspires few chills. A 10-year-old (Gabriel Bateman) has a better reason than most kids his age for not being able to get to sleep. His demented mother (Maria Bello), is camped out nightly in her dark bedroom with her best friend from childhood (Alicia Vela-Bailey) who, as the victim of a rare skin disease, has become hideous and feral. Though this zombie-like creature is repelled by light, she manages to exact a rising body count, and thus provokes the return of the lad's sister (Teresa Palmer) who has long been estranged from Mom but is now determined to rescue her sibling. The film's unexpected and shocking ending is also morally unacceptable, and only the remoteness of the context from real life renders it possibly acceptable for at least a few a few well-grounded grownups.

Watch out for: Occasional bloody violence and scary imagery, a suicide, implied nonmarital sexual activity, drug use, some crude language.

Rated: L, limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling; MPAA: PG-13

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016