The fact that the lights opens with credit in a font that I recognize dismays me a little bit. It’s still keeping with the backwood theme of this set, a dead cow in the grass, and woodland countryside all around with mountains in the distance. The heavy metal music that plays over the post credits baseball game seems out of place though.
We finally get the movie started about 10 minutes in, with a group of twenty somethings on their way to the woods to see the meteor shower. By the time the Jehovah’s Witnesses arrive, I’ve got a pretty good idea of what kind of film this is. It’s a lightly cracked redneck killing intruders in his woods. (or more specifically, anyone who knocks on his door). There’s some clumsily interjected lore about mysterious lights that might drive someone mad but it’s not well explained.
This film is full of weird filler, Like our characters pulling off the side of the road to pet ponies or swim in the creek with soft music overdubbed. It’s weird because a movie like this that’s under 90 minutes shouldn’t actually need filler material. It’s a clumsy attempt to build empathy with our group, but it comes off more as a bunch of cheesy 80’s montages.
At 54 minutes in, things finally start to happen – it’s still slow, but at least the story progresses. I make a point to slog it through to the third act of most horror movies because even if nothing else happens to the entire film, the third act usually picks up. Not so much here. The movie dosen’t really get too much of a climax until the last 10 minutes as our protagonists are slowly dispatched one by one.
There are some decent kills in concepts at play here, but ultimately “The Lights” fails to satisfy. More world building and more competent character development would’ve gone a long way towards salvaging this film.