Short, Suspenseful, & Scary: LIGHTS OUT (2016) Review

lights_out_movie_poster__2016__by_johnyisthedevil-da5g865

When mysterious occurrences begin happening involving a woman who only appears in the dark. A young woman begins worrying about her younger brother who is being exposed to this monster. Upon further investigation she realizes the secret behind the woman is runs close to her family. Now she must team up with her boyfriend to save her brother and her mentally ill mother. But this spirit is much smarter than she anticipated.

Lights Out is based off of the short film by David F. Sandberg, whom also directed this full length version. At first glance this film appears as a super basic supernatural film with a bunch of jump scares. This is only half of the truth. Lights Out is actually very above average compared to other “fear the dark” horror films. It is much smarter and more well-crafted than the rest. The ghost is much more clever in terms of ways to keep her victims in the dark, and ways the actually make sense and don’t seem like a cheat. Our characters are actually smarter than average as well. In scenes that may come off as them making stupid decisions, it is because they have no other choice, this connects back to the cleverness of our villain. The film also gives us likable characters who aren’t people pretending to be perfect. They have their flaws and this makes them even more likable and authentic. Our leading lady is basically bad ass grungy girl, but that doesn’t prevent her from coming off as a bitch or otherwise. As we gain insight to the leads’ mother, we get a further description of her life instead of having it verbally told to us. The film also takes deep look into depression and gives it a very haunting and metaphoric lens to the illness. But most of all the film features a high amount of intensity in the moments of darkness. It also has a high amount of jump scares. They are more less the same, but considering the entity we are dealing with there really is no other way of doing them. But despite that, the jump scares really work, and this is greatly in thanks to the aforementioned intensity as well as the perfect lighting and cinematography.

The film is really short, without credits it’s an hour and fifteen minutes. But in all honesty, it didn’t necessarily need to be any longer. It’s perfectly paced and doesn’t go through the whole bullshitted tropes that we get in most horror films. Some may say that the final act felt rushed, I can understand that, but I thought it worked just fine. Had the final act been any longer, it would essentially be the same sequences on a loop. For its short run time we surprisingly get enough insight to our small set of characters to know who they are and feel for them. Though there was the woman from Child Protection that I felt should have been a larger part than the two miniscule scenes she had. But if there was any complaint that I have for the film, it is the really minor fact that it could have at least two more deaths. There were two characters that I felt should have been killed but they weren’t.

For a mainstream horror film, Lights Out has pretty damn great performances from the cast. Especially Teresa Palmer and Maria Bello. After starring in the god awful Nicholas Sparks movie The Choice (and even giving a less than bland performance), Palmer shows that she CAN act, despite this blip on her resume. Palmer plays Rebecca as very real and authentic and doesn’t phone in the role at all. Every emotion and reaction she provides comes off as believable. Bello plays the mentally ill mother whom Palmer’s character resents. She plays the role in a way where you feel sorry for her even if her behavior is extremely crazed and creepy. You can really tell the woman is struggling, and Bello, the terrific actress that she is, nails it. Also worth noting is newcomer Gabriel Bateman as Palmer’s character’s younger brother and Bello’s son. Bateman brings a lot of innocence, fear, and confusion to the role that, again, comes off as realistic and not an over-the-top and annoying brat like in most horror films. You feel sorry for the kid because of not only being trapped in this troubled family but also with the supernatural occurrences going on. Bateman is definitely a newcomer to look out for.

For a mainstream horror film, Lights Out is easily the best I’ve seen in a while. It is a smart and well-executed film with great tactics used to provide scares, and a pretty deep meaning at its core with familial issues that don’t go ignored or unresolved. It’s not groundbreaking by any means, but it’s a prime example that mainstream horror CAN be good and succeed in providing scares, but also have depth.

–Cody Landman

3teddy

Hand Numbered, Limited Edition Double Feature Hits DVD on July 22nd

GRINDHOUSEposter

Who doesn’t love a limited edition slasher double feature? Our first two slasher shorts, Teddy & Popularity Killer, are now available on a limited edition & hand numbered DVD including all new special features. Each dvd will be hand numbered on the spine of the case out of 50. Once these 50 are gone, they are gone for good. Both films contain behind-the-scenes stills, commentary, trailers, and much more. See where Slasher Studios first began and cut into the slasher fun! Just $10 with free 11×17 poster with purchase, for a limited time only!


Double Feature




Teddy

paige

Special Edition DON’T GO TO THE REUNION Dvds Set to Sell Out

Don't_Go_To_The_Reunion_Poster,_House(resize)

We are down to our final case of DVDs for Don’t Go to the Reunion. Once these are gone, all future printings of the film will be bare bones with no special features. While supplies last, we are giving away a free 11 x 17 Dismembering Christmas poster with every DVD purchase through Slasher Studios. It makes for a bloody good gift and we want to share the slasher goodness with you. Lots of special features (check out the list below). Remember, these are region free dvds with exclusive extras you won’t find anywhere else and you must purchase through the link below to receive your free poster.

Killer Features
* Audio Commentary with the filmmakers
* Trailer
* Blooper Reel
* “Class of 2004” Yearbook
* Slasher Studios short films (Teddy, Popularity Killer, Blood Brothers)

Plot synopsis:
Scott Rantzen (Brady Simenson) is a horror movie loving misfit who is teased by the popular students in school. When a date with the very popular and very beautiful Erica Carpenter (Stephanie Leigh Rose) backfires, he feels as though his life is ruined. Ten years later, the gang reunite for their class reunion. Little do they know that someone is waiting for them and ready to see that they pay for what they did. Is Scott back for revenge and will the old gang survive to tell the tale? It’ll be more gore for Class of 04.

Get your special edition DVD today.


Don’t Go to the Reunion




Christmas in July Celebration: FREE Poster With All Slasher Studios Purchases

7ea5c8724f9eb88c3258a536edf22734

Hope all of you slasher fans out there are enjoying a very bloody Christmas in July. Need to cool off with a bloody cool slasher? You are in luck and we are starting the gift giving early this year. All month long, purchase DON’T GO TO THE REUNION or DISMEMBERING CHRISTMAS on DVD and you’ll receive a FREE signed DISMEMBERING CHRISTMAS poster with your order. Remember, these are region free dvds with exclusive extras you won’t find anywhere else and you must purchase through the links below to receive your free poster.

DONTRETRO

Killer Extras:
* Audio Commentary with the filmmakers
* Trailer
* Blooper Reel
* “Class of 2004” Yearbook
* Slasher Studios short films (Teddy, Popularity Killer, Blood Brothers)


Don’t Go to the Reunion




dvdcover

Killer Extras:
Audio commentary with Actor/Director Austin Bosley
Audio commentary with Writer/Producer Kevin Sommerfield
Bloopers
Fly on the Set: Making Of Dismembering Christmas
Theatrical Trailer
Teaser Trailer


Dismembering Christmas DVD




Slasher Studios Horror Podcast: The L’s & M’s of Horror

tlsp2co5

On a brand new Slasher Studios Horror Podcast, our hosts Kevin Sommerfield & Andrew Beirl dig back into the ABC’s of Horror and giving you their recommendations for horror movies that start with the letters L & M. It’s definitely a gory good time as they return to horror school to learn a little horror alphabet rules.

Slasher Studios Horror Podcast: The L’s & M’s of Horror

Horror Newspaper Ads: The HALLOWEEN Franchise Edition

halloween

John Carpenter’s classic thriller HALLOWEEN is widely regarded as one of the best horror films ever made, and is one of the few horror classics to transcend its genre (much like PSYCHO, THE EXORCIST, and JAWS) and become known as not a horror classic, but a true classic of cinema. With its simple-but-terrifying story of three babysitters who are stalked by a psychotic killer, it garnered rave reviews from critics, including notorious anti-slashers Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel. Today, we take a look at some of our favorite newspaper ads for the John Carpenter classic as well as it’s sequels. Enjoy!

John Carpenter's Halloween Newspaper Ad

halloweennews

halloweentv

ad halloween tv guide ad 2

ad Halloween 1978 Studio One Matinee

halloween2

halloweenII

halloweenIII

Halloween III Season of the Witch newspaper ad

halloween4

Slasher Studios Horror Podcast: The Ls & Ms of Horror

LastSlumberParty

On a brand new Slasher Studios Horror Podcast, our hosts Kevin Sommerfield & Andrew Beirl dig back into the ABC’s of Horror and giving you their recommendations for horror movies that start with the letters L and M It’s definitely a gory good time as they return to horror school to learn a little horror alphabet rules.

To listen to an archive:
Slasher Studios Horror Podcast: The Ls & Ms of Horror

Free DISMEMBERING CHRISTMAS CD Soundtrack With Any Slasher Studios Purchase

cover

We are celebrating a slashing Christmas in July with presents all month long. The next five people to order anything from the Slasher Studios site will receive a FREE Dismembering Christmas soundtrack with their purchase! This is only while supplies last and a $15 value so make sure to pick up yours today purchase of any of the items below!

DONTRETRO


Don’t Go to the Reunion




dvdcover


Dismembering Christmas DVD




zJaC5Ne


DVD 2-Pack




VHS


Dismembering Christmas VHS Options




Don’t forget to also pick up a Dismembering Christmas Limited Edition Tee!
10369124_715237158596760_8120981354572610278_n


Artwork by the awesome Garreth Gibson Illustrations.


Sizes




Slasher Studios Horror Podcast: The I’s, J’s, and K’s of Horror

killer_klowns_from_outer_space_poster_01

On a brand new Slasher Studios Horror Podcast, our hosts Kevin Sommerfield & Andrew Beirl dig back into the ABC’s of Horror and giving you their recommendations for horror movies that start with the letters I, J, and K. It’s definitely a gory good time as they return to horror school to learn a little horror alphabet rules.

Slasher Studios Horror Podcast: The I’s, J’s, and K’s of Horror

Politics Can Be Murder: THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR (2016) Review

maxresdefault

Following the events of the previous film, Leo Barnes is now working as head of security for Senator Charlie Roan. Roan is now running candidate for President along with Minister Edwidge Owens. Roan seeks to end the annual Purge and Owens seeks to make it stronger. Seeing Roan as trouble by the new Founding Fathers, she becomes a target on Purge night.

When the original Purge came out, I was pretty excited to see it due to the cool concept, unfortunately it was a massively let down that didn’t make proper use of the concept, and instead gave us a boring home invasion story with boring and unlikable characters. When the second film came along, it was massively better by getting out in the world and giving stronger and more likable characters, as well as further insight of the brutality of the Purge. With this film, it conveniently comes out the year of our own election. In turn, the two runners for the election in the film basically reflect Trump and Clinton. It’s hard not to notice that similarities and political propaganda that basically beats you over the head. Nonetheless, it still works in the themes it tries to represent and manages to work it into an entertaining story. The odd thing with this film is that it hardly feels like a horror film, with the exception of a few (and for the most part effective) jump scares, it plays out much more as an action film. Anarchy had a combo of both horror and action, the original, while the worst one, was definitely horror. So it seems odd that as the films go on, they seems to distance themselves from the horror genre. Right from the beginning, the film does a fine job of keeping you hooked through the whole film. We are given characters to root for, and enough insight on these characters to actually know them. This is one film where you won’t see the hashtag “Purge So White”, when in fact there are more characters of other races as lead characters than white Americans. While the characters were likable, I grew tired of the character Leo. Understandably, given his background he’s all about being serious and not joking around, but he’s do damn serious the entire time that he doesn’t have a rounded enough personality. That said, he still is likable enough for a heroic character. One thing I also loved about this film is that it has great humorous moments that were used at the perfect points in the story. And it has to be said that it has a solid score that really sets the tone for its thrilling sequences.

The whole cast does a fine job, but the two actors who stood out the most to me were Elizabeth Mitchell and Mykelti Williamson. Mitchell plays Senator Roan, initially I thought I was going to be annoyed by her considering she was a political person and all for doing good, but in the long run she came off as a real person and not as moralistic as I expected. Though I wish she was given more emotional moments to work with and some ass kicking scenes, I feel Mitchell would have owned it. Williamson (most famous for playing Bubba in Forrest Gump) hands down was the best in the film. He gets to kick plenty off ass, and has much of the best dialogue (funny and serious) moments. In fact, he’s the character you root for the most with the determination and integrity Willamson gives off.

The Purge: Election Year is a sequel you would think would be nothing but boring political propaganda, and while it is political, the script is well-written enough to make it work for a thrilling and action packed film with solid performances and likable characters.

–Cody Landman

3teddy