When The Lights Went Out (2012)

Director: Pat Holden

Starring: Kate Ashfield, Christopher Letkowski, Marlen Kruse and Meret Becker

I’ve accumulated a backlog of reviews since I’ve been juggling college and The Scream Review so apologies for taking so long, everyone! I will be trying to continue with my reviews and getting up to date with everything within the next few days.

When The Lights Went Out is a traditional poltergeist movie set in Yorkshire during the 1974 nationwide blackouts. I’d watched this movie after I got a recommendation saying that it was truly chilling. Personally, I thought it was quite 50/50 in regards to horror and story.

Based on true events, WTLWO actually had a very gripping story to it. It kept me interested, it kept me thinking throughout and I couldn’t really fault it considering its subject matter and its closeness to a more traditional ghost story style movie. It was refreshing to see some subtlety in the story as opposed to the gimmick of jumpscare after jumpscare for an hour and a half. I appreciated the telling of a British tale, too. We usually see either corny British horror movies or over the top in concept British horror movies but this one really set the balance of tone and chills.

I’m not going to gush and gush over this movie, however, because it did have its own unfortunate downfall. The ‘ghost’ in the movie looked like she was made from CGI which I feel ruined the natural and atmospheric tone of the movie.

The music and the way the scene was set was great, I did notice a few ‘goofs’ regarding modern cards, but nothing too over the top. What I did find disappointing, however, was that other reviewers found this movie ‘awful’ and ‘boring’ because of its lack of jumpscare gimmicks and in your face ghosts and ghouls. I think it’s a clear example of how we’re too conditioned to having things screaming in our faces as opposed to enjoying a little subtlety where ghost stories are concerned. Nowadays, we’re too interested in screamers and loud noises to be moved and given goosebumps by atmosphere, acting and subtle movements alone. Don’t get me wrong, I love some of the movies that use jumpscares time and time again, but I don’t rely on it as an entertainment necessity.

The acting in the movie was good. It wasn’t the best I’ve ever seen, but at the same time, it really wasn’t awful at all. I personally enjoyed Kate Ashfield’s acting here, as she was very convincing in her role as a struggling British mother. I felt for her, and I personally like her as an actress so seeing her in a horror movie was a great feeling for me.

I would recommend giving this one a casual watch if you want something maybe a little bit ‘toned down’ to usual modern horror movies or if you want a nice look on a traditional horror story. I’m giving this one 3 skulls out of 5. (☠☠☠)

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