When the Lights Went Out (2012)    0 Stars

“Based on the true story of the most terrifying poltergeist haunting in British history.”

When the Lights Went Out (2012)
When the Lights Went Out (2012)


Director: Pat Holden

Cast: Kate Ashfield, Steven Waddington, Tasha Connor

Synopsis: Poltergeists attack a family in Yorkshire during the 1974 nationwide blackouts.






The strongest thing about Pat Holden’s When the Lights Went Out is the set design. The decorations, furniture and ornaments in the Maynard house are all absolutely spot on. Unfortunately, everything else about the movie is far less impressive as it struggles to find scares while retaining its 15 certificate, and comes up with nothing we haven’t seen a thousand times before. It’s based on a true case from the 1970s (which was later debunked), and sees a family of three terrorised by a malevolent poltergeist shortly after moving into a council house in Yorkshire. Holden is apparently the nephew of the real-life family involved in the story which is perhaps why his film chooses to unquestioningly accept the veracity of the family’s claims.

When the Lights Went Out unfolds at a deliberate pace, taking time to develop its characters in a way that most low-budget horror movies rarely do, and the lead players – Kate Ashfield, Steven Waddington and Tasha Connor – all deliver strong performances. The relative depth of characterisation might be down to the fact that, for a horror picture, it’s fairly low on scares, and those that it does manage to generate are mostly cheap ones of the sudden loud-noise variety. This is presumably down to the lack of budget, but nevertheless, When the Lights Went Out (which sounds like the title of some tames 1950s sex pic) proves to be quite entertaining for those willing to set their expectations low. Unfortunately, an ill-advised ending really doesn’t work at all and undoes much of the decent work that has gone before.

(Reviewed 2nd May 2015)

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