One good weekend at the box office is all it takes, but you already knew that! Director David F. Sandberg’s jump scare bonanza Lights Out did well with audiences this past weekend. New Line made the flick on a slim budget of $5 million, but it has already made nearly six times that amount worldwide. Naturally, The Hollywood Reporter now confirms that New Line has begun the first stages of development on a Lights Out sequel.
Screenwriter Eric Heisserer’s return is in talks now, but New Line hasn’t reached a deal with him yet. There has been no mention of David F. Sandberg’s potential return yet, but he’s busy making Annabelle 2 right now. He may already have something else lined up after that, or maybe he’ll move on to making another original film. That’d be my favorite option. Sandberg is a good director, capable of making skin-crawling horror out of next to nothing. Hopefully, he won’t wade through sequels for the next few years. The guy needs to spread his wings a bit. I’m not sure Annabelle 2 is going to be the film to allow him that. I’m tempted to say it can’t be worse than the first Annabelle, but that’d be mean, and I’ve had to eat similar words before.
But there’s something else that bugs me about the concept of a Lights Out 2, and to explain it I’ll have to indulge in a slight spoiler. Ready? The logic that Lights Out uses to solve its ghost problem is very definitive. Bringing back the villain, Diana, spits in the face of a very grave and unsettling decision by one of Lights Out‘s main characters. It’d be a bit tone deaf and pessimistic just to bring Diana back. I encourage the folks at New Line to take that simple concept of a malevolent spirit that can only strike from darkness, and turn it on its head. So many great horror sequels have done this — change up the formula to keep audiences guessing. Give us new types of characters and another kind of story. Let’s see how the concept works in a very different scenario.
I may not have liked Lights Out, but if the filmmakers and executives can deliver a fresh take on the idea, I’ll be interested in the Lights Out sequel (if it happens).