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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 28 May 2013
I cant believe I only just saw this yesterday! I loved it so much! It's really well done and I was impressed that it was set in the 1970s I forgot in some parts it literally does look like something pulled off the shelf from that era. There weren't any modern slip ups in it, it literally looked as though it was set in that time it was flawless and amazing.
The movie is sort of suspenseful all the way through its pretty much a normal movie though it's not like most American found footage movies where you'll suddenly have a "Flippin heck!" moment! It's done very subtly so the activity is happening all the way throughout the movie. It starts out when the family move to the new house and their daughter, Sally is the first to discover the paranormal activity but her parents do not believe her at first then the spirit soon starts to make contact with both her parents and anybody whom enters the household!!!
There was a steady climb to the amount of cussing in the movie it started out clean or with a few subtle ones but then the F word and S word entered in a little more towards the end. I don't mind I just didn't think it was necessary. There aren't any scenes of nudity or anything like that so its pretty suitable anyone. Its not totally scary as I said its more a constant state of suspence which I enjoyed. I loved the ending just when you think your getting the cliché everythings okay now ending BANG it starts up again I LOVED THAT!!! :D I really enjoyed the movie and i'd recommend it to anyone. Its even good if your not fond of scary movies.
If you haven't already do check out the movie paranormal activity, believe the hype its awesome!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
It's OK. Hardly groundbreaking or terrifying but it was watchable. The story behind the film is quite interesting and I'm glad I watched it because, if for no other reason, it informed me of this piece of British folklore.

Don't expect the world and you won't be disappointed. It's no Exorcist, but it has a certain quaint British charm to it which makes it more enjoyable than a lot of other lack lustre American horrors.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 2 March 2014
Cracking ghost story but what impressed me most was the nice authentic1970's feel, from the browns and oranges of the clothes and décor to the blokes 'up the pub' with the 'missus' staying home sharing a bottle of Blue Nun.
Usually a depiction of the 70's is nothing more than a chopper bike and an old car stuck in the street, the whole feel of this chucked me right back to a time of three channels of black and white TV, flares and chewits.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 March 2015
I took a bit of a gamble on this UK-made 'homegrown' horror, & have to say was pleasantly surprised at how good it was.
Set in a rural Yorkshire town in 1974, it charts the allegedly true story of the Maynard family's terror when they move into their new home, & soon discover it's inhabited by poltergeists & things that literally go bump in the night - initially centered around their rather grumpy teenage daughter. The events become increasingly frequent & more violent, involving the whole family (& even visitors to the house), until the god-believing family finally call in a Catholic priest to perform an Exorcism. But have the 'ghosts' really gone....

What I really loved about this film was its incredible attention to period detail. Very often, it's easy to spot mistakes when a film is set in a certain era & doesn't get things quite right. But I'd give 10 out of 10 to the makers for their wonderful recreation of 1974 - which had me reminiscing all the way through to the era that style forgot! Right from the start, you feel you are in good hands, & that this is a film that will have care & attention lavished upon it. It's also written & directed by a family relative (Pat Holden), & he has done an excellent job here of bringing this story to the screen.

The performances are good too, & it was great to see a cameo by veteran actor Peter Egan. As for the story itself, I have no idea as to its validity. Not being a believer in the supernatural myself, I was rather sceptical about the whole set-up, especially that the family's experiences seemed to play out rather conveniently in the wake of the classic horror film 'The Exorcist', released theatrically the previous year.
But, if you are prepared to suspend your disbelief, it does make for a tense & genuinely scary film, with its fair share of jumps.

If you are expecting a full-on gross-out horror film, or something glossy in the American style, then you may be disappointed. But if you are looking for a well-made, suspenseful, UK-made thriller full of orange & brown 1974 period charm, then sit back & enjoy!
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
When the Lights Went Out is written and directed by Pat Holden. It stars Steven Waddington, Kate Ashfield, Natasha Connor, Craig Parkinson, Jo Hartley and Martin Compston. Film is based on alleged real life events that were recorded in Pontefract, England, in 1974. After the Pritchard family moved into their new house on the Chequerfield Estate, poltergeist activity reached such a level it has been called the most violent poltergeist haunting ever witnessed in Europe.

Director Holden, who made the criminally under valued Awaydays, helms his picture with genuine love and thought for the topic. Being related to the Pritchard family he had wanted to make the film for some time, it's a noble effort even though it never achieves all that it can.

There are two main problems that will ensure the film will stay rooted on the bottom shelves of DVD stockists and collectors. Problem one is that it is uncomfortable in mixing comedy with drama, something that practically kills a key scene in the last quarter. It's useful to understand that these Yorkshire folk are made of tough stuff, ready to offer a quip in the face of adversity, but it has to be pitched right and here it negates much of the pent-up terror.

The other key issue is that it's so stunning in its period design (this really deserves the highest praise for the makers), anyone from the 1970s is guaranteed to be spending much of the film pointing out things and reminiscing. I know I was! Garish wallpaper designs, toys like Slinky and Buckaroo, rum and pep and Babycham in the smoky pubs, The Sweet singing Little Willy and a hairy Noel Edmonds on Top of the Pops, these are just some of the things to make film fans who were reared in the 70s smile during this particular horror film!

As a tale it's creepy enough, the cold backdrop of a Yorkshire council estate suits the story no end, and in spite of a bad misstep when Holden uses CGI in the finale, the shocks and unease moments are nicely handled. While the human interest factor always remains high and there's a bit of thought within the writing to off set the normal question of "why don't they just move house?".

It's also well performed by the cast, with youngster Connor really shining bright, and with Holden keeping things brisk the picture never gets bogged down with pointless scene fillers. Is it scary? Away from the flares, wallpaper and hair styles that is! Well no it isn't really, it's more an effective ghost yarn than anything else. So needless to say, the bloodlust gore crowd or those expecting a battle between religion and demon, need not apply here. 6.5/10
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 18 February 2014
What a good little film, I have watched it a couple of times now and would recommend this film to anyone who likes old fashioned ghost stories.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 February 2013
I was pleasantly surprised by this film. Sure, it's a painfully cheap affair, the location is pretty dour, and none of the actors are household names. However, on most levels, it works rather well. There is a solid story (supposedly based on true events), the acting is again solid, if not spectacular, and the direction is crisp, punchy and unfussy. There are one or two really chilling scenes, though there could have surely been a lot more, and there is a wit and humour about the film that I rather enjoyed.

One major blooper - Sky TV satellite dishes did not exist until the late 80s in the UK, and several of the houses in the street have them in full view. That's a pretty terrible oversite, or maybe the budget was so low that they couldn't find a more suitable street!
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!!!. WARNING. THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS. !!!

When Len and Jenny Maynard move to a new council house, they consider it to be the home of their dreams. Their only child, daughter Sally isn't quite so sure especially when things start to go bump in the night. After initially blaming their troubled daughter for the mysterious happenings, Len and Jenny soon realsie that their are old, dark and very malevolant forces at work, forces that threaten the life of Sally.....
I really can't fault this excellent British ghost story, based on the haunting of the Pritchard family in the 1970's in Pontefract. Full of excellent performances, Steven Waddington and Kate Ashfield believable as the concerned parents, debutant Tasha Connor even better as fragile Sally, a great period feel and above all, plenty of decent scares to be had.
Especially good is how the dark past insiduously creeps into the present, gradually taking control of Sally, and all the while the parents are for the most part unawares.
If there is such a thing as 'Kitchen sink horror' then 'When The Lights Went Out' has had a great try at becoming it. Even a slightly out of place, CGI laden ending can't negate the understated excellence of what came before it. Highly recommended. 5 out of 5. Plenty of interesting extras on the disc too.
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Okay, take Poltergeist and The Exorcist then move them to seventies Yorkshire and you basically have When the Lights Went Out. It's supposedly based on a true story (but aren't they always?) about a family who encounter a particularly nasty spook in their house.

This is a film where I can find many positives and only one negative. The good things are the setting (if you ignore the occasional Sky Digital dish in the background). They do a good job of portraying seventies England. The actors are also all believable. The film centres quite a bit on two young girls. Kids in films (and especially horror films) tend to be either highly annoying, or just totally unlikeable. However, I found these two girls quite endearing and hopefully they will have a long acting career ahead of them. Also, it's quite creepy. The scares are sometimes predictable, but they're there nonetheless.

About the only thing that's negative is that - as far as story-telling goes - is that there's nothing new here. Hollywood has been churning out these sorts of films for years and all you have here is a British (period) version of one of those types.

If you're in the mood for an easy-going British horror flick, definitely give this one a go. Just don't expect anything revolutionary.
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on 6 August 2015
I really enjoy watching this film and enjoy British supernatural films in general. I much prefer them without the Hollywood over the top special effects nonsense. A good ghost story doesn't need them.
This story is about a family terrorised by the ghost of a murderous monk (Why are there so many monks apparently haunting everywhere)
with the spirit of one of his victims haunting this family home too.
It's a good spooky story, apparently a true one and though I believe this family went through some sort of haunting I also believe the story we're presented with bares only little resemblance to the truth.
I only gave it 4 stars because For me the family portrayed is awful, there's not one of them likeable, they use the word 'love' when talking to each other all the time but there seems very little of it between them, they seem to be a family who'd rather hit each other than hug. The one character I do love is Lucy the long suffering friend of the family's daughter sally. Lucy is a sweet little thing who's bullied by everyone including Sally quite often.
Anyway, this films definitely worth a watch if you're into good British ghost stories
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