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Playing like a cross between THE CONJURING (2013) and NOW YOU SEE ME (2013), RED LIGHTS is a nifty little psychological thriller. Even though it falls just short of hitting the mark, it deserves credit for an unconventional narrative and a clever twist ending.
Like I said in my January 6th review of INTRUDERS, I bought some movies at the closing down Blockbuster for $1.99 that I was unfamiliar with. It’s very rare that a movie slips under my radar, especially one with such a notable cast like RED LIGHTS, which boasts Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver, Elizabeth Olson, Toby Jones, Joely Richardson and Robert De Niro.
On top of that, the movie is directed by Rodrigo Cortés who directed the taut BURIED with Ryan Reynolds. How could I resist?
Dr. Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) and her young colleague Tom Buckley (Cillian Murphy) are paranormal investigators who debunk so-called supernatural occurrences to make way for valid scientific research. When famed mentalist Simon Silver (Robert De Niro) comes out of retirement, they turn their eyes on him to prove once and for all that he is a fraud. But things aren’t exactly as they might seem and as they delve deeper into his “so-called” psychic gifts, the truth alters their lives forever.
One of the things I rather liked about RED LIGHTS is that it requires the audience to pay attention. Things aren’t always spelled out or hit over your head. Like a well-constructed thriller, there are times when you may be (purposely) lost or confused, only to be dealt more information moments later that clarify what’s going on. In other words, RED LIGHTS treats the audience like they are intelligent. Imagine that!
My only complaint is that the movie gets rather melodramatic at times. Some of the acting is unnecessarily over-the-top especially Murphy who by the end is chewing (and smashing) the scenery. Adding to this criticism is the film score, which is very reminiscent of Howard Shore’s score for SE7EN and THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. At times it just doesn’t fit the visuals, adding a false gravitas to certain scenes that haven’t earned it. But these are minor grievances.
At its core, RED LIGHTS is commendable and enjoyable. I went along for the ride and liked the resolution to the story. Ultimately, the film is a little gem that could use a bit of polishing.