When the Lights Went Out Review

Movie: When the Lights Went Out
By: Maniac E
Date: February 6, 2012

A seventies exorcist

We have been flooded with bad exorcist movies the last 2 years, things like: “The Rite”, “Annelies: the exorcist tapes”, and maybe the worst of them “The Devil Inside”. Now some of you probably will think ‘I have seen enough, stop with the exorcist movies’. How would this be for the “When the Lights Out? We had a chance to see the movie in the International Film Festival of Rotterdam. Here is what we thought of it:

The story:

Yorkshire, 1974. A family finally moves into their dream home, but are soon plagued by an increasingly aggressive poltergeist that primarily targets the daughter. A fabulous mix of drama and thriller with astounding set design. Based on a true story. Loosely based on the Black Monk of Pontefract, a ghost who afflicted the county of Yorkshire in northern England in the 1960s and 1970s, When the Lights Went Out tells the story of the Maynard family. Father Len, mother Jenny and daughter Sally move into their dream house, but soon come across an uninvited ‘presence’. The twist comes when the invisible housemate makes friends with 12-year-old Sally. A unwilling priest gets involved after being blackmailed by the father of the family and so the story heads on to the actual exorcism.


The thing with the movie is that it really feels like it is set in the seventies and it all fits together. The art direction is one to look at certainly when you know the styles from seventies which in the end guarantees a laugh or two. For instance in the discussions between man and wife about the color in the kitchen must be: is it avocado or just plain green? The actors are good enough to make you believe that they are scared of that is happening to them and the two little girls that the story focuses on do an excellent job. This movie is about ghosts and exorcism don’t be thinking that this is just a movie that will make you laugh.


The ghost elements work great and shows things we already been done before but in a good way. The flickering lamps, the popups of the ghosts and the way the ghosts hunt the family just seem realistic and good enough to believe. The movie doesn’t try too hard to be realistic and it doesn’t show any real gore. This just help with building up the atmosphere of the movie, which really is a plus point for what the movie does. It really out does bigger budget projects like “The Devil Inside”, which ended up as a dull and plain movie.


There is a downfall to the movie which for me just made the movie a bit too generic. Without spoiling the movie but it was the ending. The ending was too literally taken and the 3D effects (only really used in the ending part) where over the top and clumsy looking. It ruined a bit of the movie for me and it would have been nicer if it was more subtle. Again the movie is nowhere near bad but this just made me think twice about what I thought of the movie.


I enjoyed seeing the movie but it filled with cliques and things that we have seen before. But the movie makers did their best on making something you could believe, and with it being based on a true story just helps you to get the situations that appear in front of the characters better. Solid acting and good ghost effects really help the movie to become a thing that stands out of the crap we have seen lately. It is nowhere near “The Exorcist” but ten times better than a “The Devil Inside”. If you are open to a new exorcist adventure go and see the movie.



When the Lights Went Out


When the Lights Went Out


Pat Holden






Kate Ashfield, Nicky Bell and Alan Brent