Yorkshire, 1974: the Maynard family moves into their dream house but soon discovery it is already occupied by a violent spirit.
Based on what is regarded as the most violent poltergeist haunting in Europe and not to be confused with the 'Enfield Poltergeist', from the metal bins to glass milk bottles, cigarette filled pubs, Buckaroo, Kerr plunk, wood panelled walls, seventies patterned wallpaper and 70's TV to name a few When the Lights Went Out is worth viewing for the 70s nostalgia alone.
Director Pat Holden takes some queues from some well know horrors and parts of his offering are unavoidably reminiscent of The Amativille Horror, The Exorcist and Poltergeist. Although the closing is unnecessary effects laden, the overall unassuming setting adds to the ominous and uneasy feel, this coupled with the minimal melodic music and lighting create some good tension.
With haunting figures and things going bump in the coal shed and dwelling as the family becomes more convinced their house isn't right, it becomes quite compelling viewing especially for those also familiar with the well documented alleged haunting. The creepy sound design makes the most mundane objects jumpy and menacing as the incidents escalate throughout. Along with the on location feel amongst the expertly recreated period, the everyday UK setting adds to an air of realism.
Part horror, part family drama what's interesting is the haunting events and its effect on the daughter and family and the reaction of the school and local community. It's well filmed and acted, notable are Kate Ashfield , Steven Waddington, Tasha Connor with Craig Parkinson Martin Compston and Andrea Lowe providing some good performances in supporting roles.
With a bit of artistic licence, based on The Black Monk of Pontefract, Holden gives the events context and structure to a story that's well acted amounting to a solid British haunting film.