The lights are on for a sequel to Lights Out
Most sequels don’t deserve to be made. In fact, most studios approach sequel making like a sad man who won one game of blackjack in Vegas, and who proceeds to act like he’s on a hot streak. Then after gambling away his daughter’s college fund and his dreams of his hair growing back have soon dashed, he drinks himself into a gutter and is robbed by a Vietnamese transvestite. Yeah, sequel fever can get that bad.
But I can already think of several movies this year that—regardless of whether they broke the bank or not—defied the odds because the passions of their filmmakers shined through, creating unique films that justly deserve another round (DEADPOOL, THE NICE GUYS). Another movie I added to that list just this week was LIGHTS OUT and, luckily, my prayers to the mackerel god have been answered.
Deadline reports that a sequel to LIGHTS OUT has already been greenlit at New Line Cinemas with original director David F. Sandberg returning with original writer Eric Heisserer. The critically-acclaimed horror film exceeded expectations by making $22 million its opening weekend off a nearly $5 million budget, with nowhere to go but up. So, it appears we have the beginning of what will probably end up being the next big horror series.
Sandberg also answered a few questions regarding the origin of LIGHTS OUT, and how it all started guerilla-filmmaking style:
My wife and I tried to get money to do movies in Sweden, applying for grants, and we got turned down. I said, screw it. I have a camera and she’s an actress. I got lights from IKEA, we built our own dolly and made Cam Closer, this short where a phone allows you to see the future, and a woman sees her murder and then tries to stop it. We put it online, didn’t get a huge response, but we thought, this is great, let’s keep doing that. And then this British online collective Bloody Cuts had this competition for a three-minute short film, and we made Lights Out.
Even though they lost the contest, Sandberg won a best director award, and then the internet took care of the rest:
I figured, that was fun, we’ll keep doing it, but then a couple months after, it started spreading online and suddenly it was getting millions of views and I was getting emails from managers, agents, producers and studios. The whole plan was to make no-budget shorts to get the Swedish Film Institute’s attention to get a grant, but then New Line called.
After filming LIGHTS OUT Sandberg got another offer, this time to direct the sequel, ANNABELLE 2, which he's currently filming.
This has been such a crazy trip, we are still trying to process it all. It was only a year and a half [ago] when New Line called us in Sweden and said, this is happening, be here next week. When people ask for advice, I tell them this all happened because we decided to make a short in our little apartment. Just keep following your passion and making things and putting them out there, because you just never know who will be watching and what might happen.
LIGHTS OUT was not only a terrifying film, it was also an interesting one, calling to mind the family-drama style of THE BABADOOK, where the ghoul acts as a symbol for the larger problems the family is going through, but is also scary as shit. On a larger scale, LIGHTS OUT proves that as long as you have a clever idea and are willing to make it come alive yourself with ingenuity and passion people will respond to it. Then, you’ll get to make horror sequels of your very own. Isn’t that special?
While there’s no release date set for LIGHTS OUT 2, ANNABELLE 2 will be scaring folks May 19, 2017.