Overview: Five teenagers play a game in the woods believed to be haunted. 2015; Lionsgate; Rated R; 85 minutes.

The Rules:

  1.     Do not write your name anywhere in the woods.
  2.     Adjust your flashlight to the dimmest setting possible; the light attracts them.
  3.     Do not fall asleep; getting tired or sleepy is a sign of possession.

If there are any rules laid out in horror movies, break them. It is a setup for the worst-case scenario. Nightlight is an unoriginal take on the classic game of hide and seek. Innocently, Robin (Shelby Young) is invited to participate in a game of nightlight with the cool kids. Her intentions to fit in turn drastically dark as she believes the spirit of a recently deceased classmate and friend is terrorizing them in the night.

The Game: One person, the seeker, is blindfolded and counts slowly to one hundred. The others seek hiding places in the woods. The objective is simple: find them. Nightlight is from the perspective of the flashlight. Let me put it this way, if you are in the woods with little to no visibility, you would not set the flashlight down and aim it towards you like a beacon. No, you would wield that flashlight with a vice-like grip to defend yourself against the darkness and if necessary, a weapon with which to spar. As the eyes roll to the back of the heads in the possessed teenagers, mine roll each time they aim the flashlight towards themselves. It is irrational to accept this view as realistic and operationally valid. As an instrument to instill nervousness with the enveloping obscurity, the flashlight is an impediment. The clicking noise as the flashlight flickers on and off, detracts, and annoys. The cast of characters is typical: the little miss rich and popular Nia, (Chloe Bridges) the dreamboat, Ben (Mitch Hewer), the horn-dog jokester, Chris (Carter Jenkins), the nice girl, Amelia (Taylor Murphy), and the wannabe, Robin. What is oddly hilarious is the level-headedness each of the teens express during their frightful evening. The death of their friends is at most a shame to them. Give me a shrilling scream or desperation for their lives or devastation for their departed friend. Lastly, the cast’s lines have a tendency to call out the most obvious: You’re bringing a dog and dogs are known to be attuned to the unseen. Dog panics = no good for you. Of course, the film could not wait until we saw it for ourselves, it needed to tell us beforehand.

The Winner: The only unpredictable event is the ending and thankfully, there is no indication of a follow-up movie. I will say Nightlight achieved one objective: continue to bring fear, not of darkness, but what lies within it.

Final Thoughts: You won’t need a Nightlight after watching this yawn-worthy movie.

Grade: D-