A few years back, a short horror film called Lights Out became a viral sensation, with many holding it up as a masterful example of how to instill fear in an audience within a limited time frame. In yet another testament to the power of the Internet in today’s world, Lights Out has since been turned into a feature film for New Line Cinema/Warner Bros., and is set to arrive in theaters this summer. The scare-filled first trailer for the movie has now been released, promising to introduce audiences to a new creature that goes bump in the night.
Written and directed by David Sandberg, the original Lights Out short ran just under three minutes, and starred Lotta Losten (Sandberg’s wife) as a woman heading to bed that is suddenly terrorized by a creepy, long-haired apparition every time she turns off the lights. The monster disappears every time the lights turn back on, leading the woman to eventually try and go to sleep with the lights on. Unfortunately, her tormentor has other ideas, ending with a final shot sure to cause an involuntary jump out of first time viewers.
After the short’s online success, Sandberg was hired to direct a feature-length expansion of his story, with genre titan James Wan (The Conjuring, Insidious) serving as producer. Notably, scripting duties for the feature were handed off to Eric Heisserer, writer of New Line’s 2010 remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street and Universal’s 2011 remake of The Thing. In an interesting bit of trivia, Wan himself began his Hollywood career by making a feature out of a well-regarded short, that being the unlikely franchise-starter known as Saw.
Opening with a scene very reminiscent of the short — down to including Losten in basically the same role — the Lights Out trailer makes it clear that Sandberg intends not to alienate the fans of his initial effort. For one, the look of the monster doesn’t seem to have changed much, and the gimmick of it suddenly appearing closer to its victim with each flip of a light switch is present and accounted for.
Of course, the story naturally needed to be filled out quite a bit in the journey from short to feature, with the trailer suggesting the creature dwelling in the darkness was actually once a person named Diana. This supernatural entity stalked Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) throughout her childhood, and has now set its sights on her younger brother Martin (Gabriel Bateman). The being appears to be tied to Rebecca and Martin’s mother Sophie (Maria Bello), but why exactly it is haunting her family remains unclear.
The concept of something deadly hiding in the dark is certainly nothing new to the horror genre, with relatively recent films like They (2002), Darkness Falls (2003), and Boogeyman (2005) all focusing on the idea of some type of otherworldly nightmare lurking in the shadows. Of course, when it comes to crafting an effective horror film, originality of concept is often much less important than how well the idea in question is executed. With his short, Sandberg proved he knew how to craft a suspense sequence and unnerve an audience. Under the watchful eye of James Wan, here’s hoping the magic present in the original Lights Out carries over to its theatrical incarnation.
Lights Out hits theaters on July 22, 2016.
Source: Warner Bros.