Lights Out is a supernatural horror/ thriller lasting a total 2 minutes 41 seconds. Throughout the film we see a woman, who looks around 30 years old. This woman is the only character that we see in the entire short film, which gives us the assumption that she is alone in the house. We see her come out of a room into a corridor, then walk to the end and turn the light off. As the light goes off, we see a silhouette at the other end of the corridor but when the light is turned back on, there is no one or nothing there. She repeats this 5 times and on the fifth time, the figure is right next to her. In the next couple of shots we see her ripping duct tape, then using it to secure the light switch in the on position. Once she does this, she clearly feels safer and heads to bed. When in her bed, she begins to hear footsteps and a creaking sound. This becomes more and more intense, the hallway light turns off, and she hides under her duvet. She gets enough courage to peer out from underneath and we see that the door has swung wide open, she then hides back under the duvet. As she is whimpering in fear, we see through the covers that the light beside her bed has begun to flicker, which typically symbolises a supernatural force nearby. The woman reaches a hand out of the bed, and pushes the plug back into the socket; then the light goes back to normal and the room is silent. Then she comes out from under the covers as she clearly thinks the room is safe, she begins to smile and laugh, then turns towards her bedside table and see a creepy, inhuman face.
Lighting holds a great significance in this film. When the room is well-lit, it is shown to be a safe environment because you can have clear vision of the whole room, whilst the dark is shown to be scary as it is unknown. This is something that the vast majority of the audience will empathise with, as most people have been afraid of the dark at some point in their lives. The sound of the light switch also helps to build tension throughout the corridor scene. There are two key lights throughout the entire short film; these are the corridor light and the bedside light in the bedroom. The bedside light is a huge part of keeping the viewer interested and in fear as the light flickers as it is clear something is going to happen, and they want to know what. This ‘trick of the light’ aspect is one that happens to people regularly when they are in fear, especially when it is dark. This means you find yourself questioning whether or not this silhouette is actually there or not, or if it really is just the fear making you think that. This relatable kind of scene makes you understand how the woman must be feeling and invites the viewers to almost put themselves in the short film and realise what she is going through.
Camera work is also a big part this short film. At the beginning of the short film, an establishing shots helps to set the scene and lets us know that it is night time, as it is dark outside; the shot shows the outside of a house, with only a few lights on, which we then learn is the woman’s. In total, there were 40 different shots in this short film, however many of them (for example the 12th, 13th and 14th shot) were used many times, with the camera switching between shot 12 and shot 13 to show the differences in the corridor in the light and in the dark, and how the woman reacted to these. The use of repetitive shots, back and forth, creates tension, especially when paralleled with the lights being turned on and off in the corridor scene, and when the light is flickering in the bedroom scene. The corridor scene either uses close up shots or long shots. Use of close up shots in these tense scenes also us to see the facial expressions of the woman, and the emotions that she is experiencing, e.g. fear, confusing, etc. Whereas, the long shots are giving us a better look at the corridor she is standing in, as it is fairly empty, this gives the idea of isolation, as well as making the house a legitimate setting with items of furniture and clothing. A couple times in the film, a handheld camera is used, which puts in the perspective of this situation, again, this builds tension and fear for the viewer. At the end, after we see the jump scare of the inhuman creature by her bedside table, the screen then fades to black and the credits begin.
The mise en scène of this short films makes it a realistic, believable setting. The everyday nature of the setting makes the audience feel as if they can relate more to the woman, again making them empathise with her fear of the dark, which makes the setting of the whole film a lot more powerful and tension building. The house looks like a regularly house, it is well furnished well and modern-looking, with wooden floors that creak and make noise when they are walked across. Also, her door creaks when it swings opened. These things not only add tension but make the house more authentic. Her clothing makes us assume that she feels safe and comfortable at home, as she is only wear a shirt. She does fit into the stereotypical person to be in a horror film, a lot of this genre does revolve around women, especially young women, being in a house alone, e.g. Scream. This makes you feel like she is going to be fine, even though we can tell something is going to happen. The naturalistic colouring of the shots also help to add to this real looking situation, as the lighting that is used is the same that would be used in any household, lights in the hallway/corridor ceiling and a lamp by the side of the bed.
During the entirety of the short film, there is no dialogue. The woman does not speak once throughout, although when in fear, she does whimper, gasp and scream. Her heavy breathing and scared squeals indicate to the audience that she is very scared, and helps to put them in her shoes. Having no speech is a really good way of giving the sense of isolation, and indicates she is alone and unsafe with no one to help her if something does happen.
The film in generally silent, which means that any little noise is emphasised and is more likely to make you jump. There are diegetic sounds, such as the powerful sound of the light switches, footsteps and the door and floorboards creaking; not only are these used to add pressure and unease to the scenes, but they help make the house seem more realistic too. The non-diegetic sounds have been added for dramatic effect and to conform with the typical horror genre style; these include eerie, high pitched, sudden and loud noises, all are which are used at specific times to scare the viewer, perhaps even as a jump scare.
The last shot we see before the film fades to black is that of the inhuman creature by the woman’s bedside table. The strange likeness to a human is often what people find unnerving about these kinds of CGI ‘monsters’ is exactly why horror films will use them. As this is the last image, it will resonate with the viewer, as their last memory of this short film will be the image of the creature, evoking fear into the viewer every time they think about the film.