Lights Out Ending, Explained: Is Diana a Ghost?

Based on a 2013 short film of the same name, ‘Lights Out’ is a horror mystery movie directed by David F. Sandberg. The movie revolves around Diana, a supernatural entity confined to the dark who preys on the family of her childhood friend Sophie. As a result, Becca, Sophie’s daughter, is forced to return and face her childhood trauma when it comes back to haunt her young stepbrother, Martin. Ripe with horrifying jumpscares set to a compelling story about family and mental illness, ‘Lights Out’ is an absolute nightmare crafted around an instinctual fear of the dark. If you’re wondering how Sophie and her kids’ lives are changed by Diana’s ghostly presence, here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘Lights Out.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!

Lights Out Plot Synopsis

‘Lights Out’ opens with the sudden, unexplainable death of Sophie’s second husband, Paul, at the hands of a ghoulish woman who only exists in the dark. Following his death, Sophie’s mental condition worsens, and her son Martin regularly notices her talking to herself in the dark. Soon after a few encounters with the same woman in the dark, Martin stops feeling safe in his own home and starts falling asleep in-between classes at school. As a result, the school calls up Martin’s estranged older stepsister, Becca, after failing to reach Sophie.

Martin tells Becca that he hasn’t been able to sleep in his house and tells her about his mother’s friend, Diana. Becca assures Martin that Becca is just a figment of their mother’s imagination, but Martin isn’t convinced and asks if he can stay at her place for the night. At first, Becca is reluctant and drives him back to his house. However, after witnessing the frantic state of her mother, it reminds Becca of her childhood struggles, and she takes Martin with her. That night, Diana follows Martin to Becca’s place. Becca wakes up to eerie scratching noises and encounters a shadowy figure crouched on the floor. After a terrifying encounter with Diana, in the morning, Becca discovers the word ‘Diana’ hastily scratched on the floorboard alongside a stick figure.

The scrawls remind Becca of a strange occurrence from her childhood, and she decides to investigate Diana. Breaking into her mother’s empty house with her not-quite boyfriend, Bret, Becca comes across a box of documents in Paul’s office. Realizing Paul must have been looking for a way to help Sophie before his death, Becca goes through the contents and glimpses into Sophie and Diana’s shared past at a mental institute. Later, after Becca is lured to her old bedroom by some noises, Diana warns her to stay away and attacks her. Bret interferes at the right time by entering the room, and the light from outside makes Diana disappear before she can kill Becca. Becca and Bret sneak out of the house with the box of documents before Sophie returns.

The following night, Martin is back at Sophie’s house, where Sophie tries to get him to befriend Diana. Martin insists on spending alone time with only her, and the two decide to watch a movie. However, halfway through, Sophie turns off the lights and tries to convince a terrified Martin to give Diana a chance. When Diana shows up, Martin freaks out, and Diana attacks him. Managing to escape from her, Martin runs away to Becca’s house. After Becca shares what she found out about Diana with Martin, the siblings (and Bret) decide to go back to their mother’s house and put a stop to her attachment to Diana.

Lights Out Ending: Is Diana a Ghost?

Diana makes her appearance early on in the film. Due to the fact that she only exists in the dark, she’s only ever an alarming silhouette of a woman with bright glowing eyes. Her origins remain a mystery, and Becca thinks of her only as an imaginary friend of her mother’s. However, after Diana visits Becca and leaves her mark on Becca’s floorboard, Becca starts to realize Diana is a real thing. After Becca breaks into Paul’s office, she finds a photograph of two young girls, one of whom is hiding underneath the shadow of her umbrella. She realizes this is a picture of her mother and her friend, Diana. Becca goes through a box of evidence that Paul had collected and finds out about Diana’s past.

Diana was first found by the authorities when she was 13. Locked in a basement, she was found alongside her father’s dead body, who had presumably committed suicide. On the basement walls, a note is written in blood, “she’s in my head.” Diana has a unique skin disability, which makes her hypersensitive to light to the point where exposure starts to corrode her skin. She is taken to a mental institute at Mulberry Hill, where rumors run rampant about her evilness and ability to get inside people’s minds. Sophie also gets admitted into the same institution because of her depression. The two met there and soon became friends, regardless of Diana’s violent tendencies.

When the doctors at the institution tried to fix Diana’s condition by exposing her to light, it inevitably made Diana vaporize into thin air. Though everyone assumes that Diana is dead, she returns back to Sophie after a few years. Diana can only exist in the living world through her attachment to Sophie. Furthermore, if Sophie takes her medication as instructed and maintains her mental health Diana ceases to exist. Diana’s ties to the material world are conditional and fragile. Though bullets do her no harm, light burns her skin. Ultimately, Diana is a spirit connected to Sophie, with no rigid presence among the living.

Is Diana Dead?

Due to Diana’s supernatural existence, killing her is no easy task. Toward the end of the film, when the kids are staying over at Sophie’s house, they take many precautions to help them get through the night without encountering Diana. They turn on all the lights, tape the light switches in fixed positions, and prepare candles and torches. Nevertheless, Diana still manages to get to them by cutting the power on the entire block. Now bathed in darkness with only a few candles and wind-up torches, Becca, Martin, and Bret are in Diana’s territory. She goes after Bret and tries to kill him, but he escapes and drives off with his car.

At Sophie’s house, Becca and Martin go down to the basement to check on the fuse box. However, this is only a trap set by Diana, who locks them inside the dark basement. Sophie realizes Diana can no longer be allowed to survive and tells Diana she cannot exist without her. As Sophie tries to take her medicine to make Diana disappear, Diana attacks her knocking her out cold. Meanwhile, Becca and Martin burn a fire in the furnace to keep Diana out. After finding a tube of black light, Becca goes to explore the basement and find more resources. She comes across Diana’s fingerprints, which are visible under the black light. Upon further inspection, she finds a wall full of Diana’s writing where she has expressed her unwillingness to be abandoned again. Diana soon finds Becca and attacks her but disappears when Martin comes to Becca’s rescue.

Now, Bret returns back to Sophie’s house with police officers. The officers are drawn into the house by the sounds of Becca and Martin screaming. After rescuing the siblings from the basement, everyone tries to escape from the house. However, Martin refuses to leave without his mom. Bret takes Martin away, and Becca stays back for their mother. Diana soon attacks Becca again and throws her over from the second floor. Just as Diana is about to kill Becca, Sophie shows up with a gun in her hand. Though Sophie first has the gun trained on Diana, she eventually turns it on her own head. Diana is tethered to the living world by Sophie, and once Sophie dies, so will Diana. Sophie pulls the trigger, thereby saving her family from Diana by killing herself.

What Happened to Becca’s Dad?

The mystery behind Becca’s dad plagues the relationship between Sophie and Becca for most of the film. Soon after Becca’s dad had left Sophie, her depression started getting worse, which led to the reemergence of Diana during Becca’s childhood. Due to this, Becca detests her mother for being neglectful and absent and later leaves once she grows up. Both Becca and Sophie have not been in touch with Becca’s dad since his disappearance. They are under the impression that he no longer wants anything to do with the family.

However, when Diana attacks Becca at Sophie’s house, she warns her to stop interfering, threatening Becca with a fate similar to her dad’s. Earlier, during a flashback of Becca’s childhood, we see Diana stealing Becca’s drawing of her family. In the picture, Becca had drawn stick figures of her parents and herself. After Diana steals it, Becca finds it in her closet with a new stick figure drawn on top of her dad’s in pitch-black dust. The figure has the word “Diana” accompanying it. Diana doesn’t want Sophie to get better, so she kills Martin’s father, Paul. Similarly, back when Becca was a kid, Diana killed her father for trying to help Sophie with her depression.

Read More: Is Lights Out Based on a True Story?