The Journal is an online collection of articles and essays written and curated by writer & photographer Thomas W Coombs, published bi-annually.

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Issue 6; Are you still Afraid of the Dark?

By T W Coombs

Horror films come and go, he are constant in our lives, most are rubbish or copies of what has come before.  Every now and again one will come up that really gets under peoples skin, take the hype over the Paranormal Activity franchise.  Personally I hated them, and found them mostly boring, but people will follow hype no matter how lame a film truly is.  It wasn’t even the budget as some lower budget films are great. It Follows for one was a film worth keeping an eye on whilst the other hid as you slowly got freaked out.

As my other half doesn’t do horror, well more jump scares, gore not a problem, jump scares, hell no, so I wait until she isn’t around to delve into me darker side and last Friday I did just this and cracked open the Amazon Video watch list to pick one of the many films I have bookmarked (better term than any).  I picked David F. Sandbergs ‘Lights Out’ written by Eric Heisserer, known for Arrival and the ‘The Thing’ remake prequel.  The premise is simple, a Ghost is attacking people and it can only get to you in the dark.  Now you think this is fine as all horror creeps are always in the dark, but as we live in a world of light the dark has become much scarier and the way they have used the shadows in this film are amazing.

Star Teresa Palmer, a model and actress who has appeared in more films than you may remember her in is finally taking a true lead role and even though does touch on the scream queen type she is also intrigued and out to save younger brother Martin, played by Gabriel Bateman a relative new comer unless you watch American Gothic you may remember him from a few episodes.

Now why has this film made me write about it and recommend it, because whilst sat at home on my own in the dark watching it, it did actually freak me out.  Not that I am a big tough guy but films like this don’t usually bother me, but this one crawled right under my skin and started shaking it.  Some of the jump scares even though blatant still got me each time, which is a wonderful bit of film making.  It is like the bit in Jaws when the shark pops out near Roy Scheider as he chucks Chum into the water.  It is something that a horror film has to do and some do it in different ways but the movements of the Ghost done amazingly by ex-stunt double Alicia Vela-Bailey, her portrayal of Diana the name of the spectre, is in slight styles of The Ring, but more physical.

Even though a 2016 film it has only come on my radar and is out to buy and rent so if you love horror, go and check it.