Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
On paper I don't know if it could get much better than this pseudo, psycho, supernatural thriller 'Red Lights'.  The cast is an outstanding one featuring a trio of gifted veterans in Toby Jones, Sigourney Weaver and Robert DeNiro… who actually gives effort in this one… International movie star Cillian Murphy is your lead and Elizabeth Olsen, the talented Olsen child, is our ingénue starlet and the director is hot Spanish director Rodrigo Cortes, who is hot partially because he had just made the extremely effective claustrophobic thriller 'Buried' and partly because he's a Spanish film director and everybody loves Spanish film directors right now.  What could've possibly gone wrong?  I have no proof of this, but I bet Rodrigo would tell me 'studio meddling'.  I betcha!

Psychologist Dr. Margaret Matheson (Weaver) and her colleague physicist Dr. Tom Buckley have one purpose in life at this time, that being the debunking of paranormal phenomena, in particular those who claim to have paranormal gifts.  If you say you can talk to the dead, channel the ghosts of Da Vinci or Liberace and you're charging people for these gifts of yours?  Then you'd damn better be able to really do this because Matheson and Buckley know all the tricks and they will bust you up.  Margaret is curious why her colleague, who could do just about anything at any university for any amount of money is hanging out with her and her floundering, underdeveloped department, but Tom has his reasons.

Margaret is pretty good at what she does but where Ahab had Moby Dick, Margaret has Simon Silver (De Niro), a blind psychic type who made a name for himself back in the 70's, with Margaret desperate to prove he's a fraud, until one of his other detractors verbally attacked him on television and then suddenly died of a heart attack, one that Silver is rumored to have psychically caused.  After that incident Silver dropped out of circulation… until today.
Back to the FCU
Let Chris know how Wrong He Is
Don't Be Square...
Like Totally Twisted Flix!

Silver coming back to the public eye is a pretty big deal, these being rough times and folks needing to believe in something.  Plus Silver and his amazing gifts can do more than bend spoons and misdirect faucet water, he can heal the sick with his hands alone.  Tom is desperate to prove this guy to be the fraud he knows he is, but Margaret wants nothing to do with him.  Silver may or may not be a psychic, but what he is, as far as Margaret is concerned, is dangerous and bad things happen to people who mess with Simon Silver.

Does Tom listen to Margaret?  No he does not.  Should he have?  Judging by the bad and unexplainable things that are happening to Tom and his girlfriend grad assistant Sally (Olsen), he probably should have.  Is Silver causing this to happen?  I guess.  It's still a mystery.  Silver even submits to a rigorous series of tests, administered by colleague Dr. Shackelton (Jones) who really wants to believe that psychic phenomena is real and the tests look to confirm that Silver just might be the real deal.  But Tom ABSOLUTELY refuses to believe.  Is Silver the real deal?  The answer is that this movie, at this point, proceed to get in its own way and it's not a good thing.

For a while at least, I enjoyed the time I was spending with Rodrigo Cortez's 'Red Lights'.  When you watch as many low budget, horrific, SyFy type original movies that we watch here at the FCU, when you get the chance to watch something as well acted and as well thought out and as expertly crafted as 'Red Lights' was, and believe me, despite my ultimate disappointment in this movie, it is a nice movie to look at. 

The storyline, which was relatively original, or at least about as original and a story can be nowadays, had me going for a while with a genuine mystery as to whether Simon Silver is authentic or a fraud, and considering some of the things that were happening, the audience was cornered into thinking the solution had to be one and not the other.  Admittedly the story being told to us wasn't all that clear most of the time and we knew because of the erratic nature in the way information was being dispensed that we were in for some kind of a twist style ending.  It's unavoidable.  The hope is the twist doesn't ruin the movie.   Oh damn.  It does.

I do have to say this twist didn't come completely out of left field in the sense that it makes absolutely no sense at all in relation to the movie, but it did come out of short center.  But more tragically it calls into question an awful lot of things that had happened beforehand which now can't possibly be explained, and a lot that stuff were the cool parts.  That makes me sad.

It's been a while since a movie has raised me up and then dropped me down to crash the way 'Red Lights' did.  I'm telling you, 'studio meddling'.  I betcha!
Don't Be Square... Like Totally Twisted Flix!
Real Time Web