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Lights Out [2016] [PG-13] - 2.5.3



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10


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A woman (Teresa Palmer) worries when her young half-brother (Gabriel Bateman) reports that he is haunted by a supernatural presence visible only in the dark. Suspecting a sinister association with her own past, she confronts her mother (Maria Bello) about her own childhood friend (Alicia Vela-Bailey) during confinement in a mental institution. Also with Alexander DiPersia and Billy Burke. Directed by David F. Sandberg. [1:21]

SEX/NUDITY 2 - A man and a woman kiss quickly in four scenes and twice for several seconds in another scene.
 A shirtless man wearing long slacks lies next to a woman wearing a snug tank top and short shorts that reveal her thighs and legs, as well as cleavage; the man asks to stay overnight and she says no, pushing him out the door after he is dressed. A creature appears in dozens of scenes as a female-like silhouette, apparently nude, with scraggly hair, long fingernails and a female name; we cannot see anatomical details -- do see the outline of thighs several times. A large poster drawing features a woman from the waist-up, exposing significant cleavage.

VIOLENCE/GORE 5 - A few lights in a shadowy factory flicker and go off and on and a woman sees a shadowy female shape with straggly hair in a dark doorway disappear as a light comes on, while faceless mannequins stand draped with sheer fabrics nearby; a man sees a woman-like silhouette in a shadow and it crouches while making clicking and groaning noises as the man falls, cutting his leg and we see several patches of raw flesh and blood in close-up; he locks himself in an office, turns the lights on and grabs a ball bat until the lights go out, the door handle rattles and the door opens, something grabs the man from the back and he falls backwards off-screen and we see the outer hallway where the man lies face-down dead, his arms and legs twisted and blood pooling on his head face, arms, back and legs. After hearing a gunshot off-screen, a girl screams and cries and we see a body with blood on the floor, and then we see EMTs wheel away a gurney containing a body under a white sheet.
 A shadowy figure throws a woman off a balcony and she falls face-down on a wooden floor (she suffers a small bleeding cut on her cheek and some blood at the corner of her mouth); she stands up and sees her mother pointing a handgun at the figure and the woman shoots (the figure is unharmed), then the woman turns the gun to her own temple as her daughter screams and the figure screams. A shadowy figure enters a bedroom, a boy screams, and the entity drags the boy down a hallway, but he escapes and screams as he enters a basement, screaming viciously at his sister; the shadowy figure slams the door shuts and locks it and a fire in a wood stove goes out as the woman and the boy bang on the door and scream for several minutes while outside, the woman's boyfriend is tackled by something invisible, picked up high in the air, and dropped several times before driving away with a bleeding cut on his face. Officers with guns drawn enter a house and one of them draws his gun and shoots five times, to no avail as the shadowy figure knocks out the officer, killing him and drags him away; it stands the man up and pushes him over toward another man, who runs outside.
 A long hand with long fingers and nails reaches out from a bedroom doorway past a boy's mother who is standing there and the boy screams and runs to his bedroom. A woman unlocks her bedroom door and comes out, her hands shaking as she hands her daughter a note that reads, "I need help" before something pulls the older woman back into the bedroom and shuts the door. A long black hand pulls a woman into a bedroom and slams the door. A boy sees a silhouette that crouches or stands hunched in doorways, growling and murmuring, until he rushes to turn on a light and it disappears in several scenes. A loud knock at the door produces no one standing there when it is opened. A shadowy figure charges toward the camera with its red eyes glowing and pointy teeth bared in a scream before disintegrating into glowing embers.
 A figure with long hair turns to the camera, screaming into the lens with glowing eyes and a craggy, pointy-chinned black face; the woman screams and she finds glowing sentence fragments on walls about hospitals and someone taking a girl away. A black light shines on a living genderless figure with glowing red and blackened thick, splotchy skin that looks like a bodysuit (twice, light causes one of the hands to burn raw and smoke with melting skin as it screams).
 A young girl is shown drawing her family as stick figures in a sketch book until the lights go out and the book disappears; after growling and clicking noises sound in a closet, the girl opens the closet door and the book falls from the ceiling and we see that the figure of "Daddy" has been smudged out entirely with black crayon. A woman is locked in a room when the door slams and locks as a raspy disembodied voice tells her to stay away from the house; something lifts the woman by the throat and shoulders high into the air, then slams her against the wall and the woman screams but appears uninjured. We hear growling and something unseen pulls a boy under a bed and his sister pulls him back out unharmed (he screams). A young boy and his mother watch TV at night, then the mother turns out all the lights and a shadowy-being enters and crouches on the back of the couch; the boy screams and runs to turn on the light switch on the wall, and then runs out the door. A woman takes a black light into a dark basement and finds three mannequins with melted and broken faces.
 There are several scenes with growling, hissing, and clicking noises in hallways and walls in a house and an apartment, often with loud pounding at doors and rattling doorknobs being made by an unseen entity. A black shadow slams itself against a closed translucent glass door (not lit), frightening a little boy who screams. A dark shadow jumps at a woman in her bedroom, but a flashing red "Tattoo" sign light outside the window blinks on and makes the shadow disappear. After hearing a thumping sound a woman finds a boy asleep in the bathtub with a lit flashlight. A woman finds deep scratch marks in a wooden floor that form the name of a shadowy female entity, with a stick figure etched next to the name.
 A flashback shows a dental chair with straps on the arms and we see the hands of a girl covered in lesions like leprosy as attendants force the girl into the chair and we hear screaming.
 A woman finds and plays a frightening audio tape from a mental institution and a physician on the tape says that a female patient has a rare skin disorder, extreme light sensitivity and a history of violence; a photo with the tape shows her as a girl dressed in black and carrying a black umbrella and we hear that she is obsessed with another girl at the hospital as we hear growling and a raspy voice; the doctor asks it why it hurts the girl (he does not say how) and it says she hurt the girl because she was getting better as we hear a loud scream on the tape.
 A woman and her daughter argue about whether a friend of the mother's is dead. A boy tells his father that his mother is talking to herself again. A boy's older half-sister tells him that their mother suffered depression while the sister was growing up and talked to herself often. A girl explains that her mother was a patient in a mental institution at age 13 and was friends with a strange girl who died during an experimental treatment. We hear that a woman's first husband disappeared and later, we hear that he is dead, then we hear again that he disappeared. We hear that an experimental treatment with light was tried on a girl but she died. We hear that a girl was found locked in a basement at age 13, after her father committed suicide.
 Walls in an apartment are covered with black posters with white ink drawings of skulls, Nazi helmets with spikes on top, and woodcut prints of the devil with outstretched wings and a pointy black face and horns. A woman finds the cut ends of a home's telephone landline, explaining why no one ever answers.

PROFANITY 3 - 5 scatological terms, 1 mild obscenity, name-calling (crazy, nut jobs, weird, marathoner, 5 religious exclamations (e.g. Oh My God, Oh God, My God). [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - A bong is seen on a table in an apartment, a woman finds several unmarked medication bottles that rattle with pills or capsules, another woman attempts to swallow a capsule (an unseen entity swipes the bottle from her hand onto the floor where many capsules scatter), a young boy tells his mother to remember to take her Valium as scheduled, a young boy asks his mother if she took her vitamins (she does not reply), and a woman says that another woman takes antidepressants. We see three Jell-O-shot cubes (presumably containing liquor) in a refrigerator.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Spirits and the supernatural, dysfunctional families, divorce, murder, death, mental illness, depression, denial, psychiatric medications and treatment, experimental treatments, loss, abandonment, regret, belief, accepting help, courage, sacrifice, relationships, family, love, trust.

MESSAGE - Mental illness can manifest in mysterious ways, but appropriate treatments can help.

Special Keywords: S2 - V5 - P3 - MPAAPG-13

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