All things considered, 2016 has been a pretty good year for theatrical horror. The Witch delighted fans of slow burn psychological horror, while films like The Shallows reinvigorated the survival horror sub-genre. The Conjuring 2 managed to be a sequel almost as good as the terrifying original, and The Purge: Election Year was perhaps the series’ best entry to date. Another big success both critically and financially this year was Lights Out.
Based on a terrific short film that went viral a few years back, Lights Out was expanded to feature length by director David F. Sandberg, who wrote and directed the original short. While Sandberg didn’t ultimately get final script credit for the feature – that went to Final Destination 5 scribe Eric Heisserer – Sandberg did write up the original treatment for the movie. The majority of Sandberg’s plot was retained in the final draft, but one thing that was notably altered was the ending.
In the final film, mentally troubled mom Sophie (Maria Bello) commits suicide in order to save her family from the demonic spirit of Diana, whose existence is directly tied to Sophie’s. This upset many people when the movie first came out, as some interpreted the ending as a message that those with mental illness would be better off killing themselves. At the time, Sandberg pushed back against that reading of the ending, and insisted that his original version was different.
Now fans can find out and judge for themselves, as Sandberg recently took to Twitter to release his original treatment for Lights Out. Here’s the tweet in question:
— David F. Sandberg (@ponysmasher) November 9, 2016
For those seeking the TL;DR version of what’s different about the ending, in Sandberg’s treatment, Sophie is instead mistakenly killed a police officer, and it’s heavily implied that her young son Martin has now absorbed the curse of Diana. The full text is very much worth reading though, for any curious fans.