Abandonment issues – scary, painful and often irreparable – can haunt people their entire lives. In Lights Out, that time frame gets extended to beyond-the-grave. Directed by David F. Sandberg, the film is a taut rubber band of resentments, vengefulness and post-mortem co-dependence.
The film’s spindly title font suggests what’s to come, as a shadowy female creature (Alicia Vela-Baily), with horrifically moisture-starved elongated digits, generates her presence only when the lights are out. Her name is Diana, the mythical Goddess of the Hunt. True to her name, she voraciously pursues Sophie (Maria Bello), a chronically mentally unstable single mom whose husband has recently been murdered.
Sophie converses avidly with her questionable imaginary friend, derailing the well being of her young son, Martin (Gabriel Bateman). When Martin also begins to see Diana’s threatening form, along with his mother’s deteriorating condition, he seeks help from his older stepsister Rebecca (Teresa Palmer). Rebecca, who has a boyfriend, Bret (Alexander DiPersia), left the family after realizing her mother Sophie had every intention of keeping Diana around.
As for Diana, her goal is to make Sophie permanently captive in her lair. She won’t go quietly into that good night. After all, she comes alive in the dark.
It doesn’t take long for the film to set up its core theme, Plutonic abandonment. Sophie feels abandoned as a result of the loss of both her husband and Rebecca. Martin feels abandoned by his medically challenged mother. Bret feels abandoned by Rebecca who can’t commit. Diana’s issues – control, manipulation and devouring motherhood – are all tied to matters of Pluto, an energy that demands absolute transformation. Lights Out delivers.
Astrology Archetype: ♇ (Pluto)