Back in 2013 a British horror production company called Bloody Cuts held the "Who's There?" Short Film Challenge. It had five simple rules. The short had to be horror, it had to cost less than $1,000 to make, it could not be longer than three minutes, it had to be uploaded before the end of the year, and it had to somehow deal with the question, "Who's there?"
David F. Sandberg, a director who had already made a bunch of short films with horror punch lines, entered the contest with a very simple, very effective short called Lights Out (watch it here). It was about a woman going to bed, but every time she turned out the light a woman appeared in the dark. That's pretty much it. It was a great short, but it didn't even win the contest.
Watch it below.
Lights Out – Who's There Film Challenge (2013) from David F. Sandberg on Vimeo.
Lights Out got a much, much better prize, though. It won the attention of The Conjuring director James Wan, who helped usher along a feature-film version of the project directed by Sandberg and written by Eric Heisserer (Final Destination 5, Hours). So how do you turn that simple short into a stand-alone movie? It's all about giving the woman in the dark a backstory and more than a few people to haunt.
At least that seems to be the case going off of the creepy first trailer for Lights Out. Like the original short, the simplicity is also what's so brilliant about it. Yes, there is something in the dark. Yes, it is coming for you. Yes, you are royally screwed.
Lights Out hits theaters on July 22, 2016.