Red Lights

Psychic Suckfest


11 July 2012| No Comments on Red Lights     by Sean Chavel


If you love unexplained loud cacophonic clangs and bangs on the audio track in your movies, then boy, do I have the movie for you. Red Lights is a thriller about debunking extrasensory powers of psychics, but none of them can seem to account for the sub-woofer enhanced noises on the soundtrack. It almost tears me up inside to report that the story doesn’t make much sense either. Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy are professional skeptics that also teach classes of supernatural fakery at a University. Hold on – students get class credits for this? Really? Robert DeNiro is a world renowned psychic that comes out of retirement to wow the world one more time, but our heroes want to discredit his powers. That’s the lay bare story. Really.

Weaver is the best actress of today who can easily come off as convincingly intellectual. Murphy is a smart guy as well, but he ends up being the one primarily carrying the film’s cock-eyed story gimmicks – ultimately, he looks silly doing it. Elizabeth Olsen displays much promise following “Martha Marcy May Marlene” as a student and protégé in training. I was waiting most attentively for Robert DeNiro, who has rebounded in recent times with roles (“Stone,” “Being Flynn”) that recall his early great career, to do something remarkable with his performance. But as Simon Silver, spoon-bending extraordinaire, he’s merely serviceable to the needs of this laborious production.

Elizabeth Olsen plays student Sally Owen

The whopping plot twist finale is so dopey it makes M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Village” feel like an act of storytelling genius in comparison. I wouldn’t say it makes credible sense, but at least it makes dumb gimmicky movie sense, if you follow. So all that paranormal stuff in the narrative is explained, fine, it ties together. What isn’t explained is the damn earsplitting clangs and bangs in the opening pre-credit sequence, which shouldn’t have existed if it turned out to be a false incident.

I give the film one compliment: There are some nice stark red visuals by director Rodrigo Cortés (“Buried”). He also wrote the film. I hope he takes advice. Rodrigo, you’re a talented director. Find some work directing somebody else’s script.

113 Minutes. Rated R.


Film Cousins: “Magic” (1978); “The Dead Zone” (1983); “The Sixth Sense” (1999); “Insidious” (2011).


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


There are No Comments about this post

Add Yours!

You must be logged in to post a comment.