Red Lights


Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 22
  2. Negative: 9 out of 22

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Aug 2, 2012
    A lot of talent comes up empty in Red Lights, a thriller that doesn't thrill.
  2. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Jul 12, 2012
    The movie muddles to a rug-pulling ending that doesn't, despite its efforts, shed new light on what's come before.
  3. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Aug 2, 2012
    By the time the film reaches its convoluted, bombastic and preposterous climax, any sense of real magic that it once conveyed has utterly vanished.
  4. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    Aug 2, 2012
    When its biggest trick is finally revealed, it is not entirely satisfying.
  5. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Jul 11, 2012
    Red Lights' setup is silly but fun, with a fair degree of self-awareness that the film's entire "super-scientists vs. celebrity spiritualists" premise is a hoot.
  6. 50
    It works best when it doesn't take itself seriously, and some of the ways in which ESP is faked are briefly engaging, like short con games or magic tricks revealed. But, finally, the film doesn't offer the sense of release, or of surprise, that it seems to take for granted.
  7. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    Jul 12, 2012
    Before Silver hijacks the plot, Rodrigo Cortés's smart, talky screenplay and tense direction hold our attention, as much for the unpredictability of the story as the ease with which Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy slide into their roles.
  8. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Jul 12, 2012
    It's mystifying how such a muddled and silly movie drew the talented cast it did.
  9. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Jul 7, 2012
    Instead of adding to the experience, the picture's ill-conceived twists amount to a severe miscalculation on Cortes' part.
  10. Reviewed by: Nick Pinkerton
    Jul 10, 2012
    Much as I want to believe in Cortés, who is clearly talented and ambitious, there is just too much in Red Lights that encourages agnosticism.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 46 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 10
  2. Negative: 5 out of 10
  1. Jul 16, 2012
    Sadly, it seems any filmmaker billing De Niro in their movie, now, isn't the least concerned with what the erstwhile acting legend does;Sadly, it seems any filmmaker billing De Niro in their movie, now, isn't the least concerned with what the erstwhile acting legend does; casting him is supposed to be enough. Though such lionizing of a cinematic icon should be respected, and the actor himself should relish it, the billboard on which De Niro's face is plastered in "Red Lights," of his character Simon Silver, once again avers with undoubtable certainty, that he is merely dress-up for any trash that happens to call his name by phone; even sadder, is the realization that the trash and the man are slowly becoming synonymous with each other. This is true, but De Niro's not all to blame. From the director of the claustrophobic thriller "Buried," Rodrigo Cortes helms, this time, a psychological grabber starring Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy as a pair of full-time scholars and part-time paranormal debunkers. Their belief, the ESP, the ghosts, apparitions, telekinesis, psychic surgical treatment, are only superficially eerie acts, filled with sleighted gags. And, that sums up the film too: loud sounds, seemingly spooky ambiance with its share of door-slam-shocks, levitation, crackling power outages and the all too familiar candle blowouts with people gathered around the dining room table, and many others you've seen before, its ultimately mostly all, a campy mess; a film laden with busting bulbs and magic tricks but little semblance to cohering characters and dialogue. Moreover, a movie about extrasensory perception, you'd think, would have some form of self-image and perception, but the only thing this psy-thriller "grabs" is a mirror, at which point it insists on shattering before it can take a look. Sure, not all is lost amidst the fragments--Toby Young as the parapsychologist and genre-connoisseur Weaver (she knows where the "light switch" is, per se)--but the characters all feel so stranded in the darkness with no exit anywhere in sight. Others, namely Young's on-screen girlfriend, Olson, appears only fitting in the picture insofar as to confirm Young's otherwise implied affinity for women, and incidentally to show the audience some respite in occassionally revealing a pretty face instead of a dark, cacophonous room. Also, Weaver, notwithstanding her valiant attempts to fulfill the script, can't circumvent her expositorily informative lines that don't do justice to the already dullness of some of her counterparts. Initially, the film does start intriguingly, at least cinematographically, with dramatic shifts in camera movement and delightful set-locations. But, one can't expect the scenery alone to help this shock-limper through the long-haul. Enter the aforementioned De Niro, who hides behind those big, black glasses, and further, those cosmetic cataracts (playing a blind, spoon-bending thaumaturge) and wears his fading reputation proudly; needless to say, De Niro should have taken a tip from his character and performed his own vanishing act--far, far away from taking this role. His Simon Silver-paranormal-superstar persona doesn't come across as mysteriously creepy, but rather desperate and frankly, not all that interesting. Additionally, in what has been called a "mind-blowing conclusion," "Red Lights," endows an ending that is sure to mix things up, but rather than having a twist that adds to what one already knows, it ironically pulls the rug out from under itself, and takes it a step further in nullifying that which its sleight-of-hand narrative had set out to explain in the first place; it makes the pervasive foibles of the film all the more intolerable and undeniably unforgiveable to the time ill-spent. This one missed all-too-many signs urging it to "Stop." Arguably the biggest turn-for-the-worse and misfire of 2012. Full Review »
  2. May 11, 2015
    What the hell happened this had an excellent cast, some decent performances and a pretty good plot that for once had a sceptic view of physicsWhat the hell happened this had an excellent cast, some decent performances and a pretty good plot that for once had a sceptic view of physics which not enough media does but it's all undone by an ending so bad I still can't believe there wasn't a rewrite. I can't even recommend for a so bad it's good quality it doesn't have that and it should be taught in film schools as the perfect example of how a bad plot twist ruins a movie Full Review »
  3. Nov 13, 2014
    "Red Lights" 10 Scale Rating: 4.0 (Bad) ...

    The Good: Starts off great and is a very interesting concept. The cast is full of talented
    "Red Lights" 10 Scale Rating: 4.0 (Bad) ...

    The Good: Starts off great and is a very interesting concept. The cast is full of talented actors and they don't disappoint. Throughout the first half of the film, there are a handful of very powerful scenes that make you think.

    The Bad: It bogs down in the second half and loses steam. The talented cast couldn't overcome the poor plot choices as the film goes down an entirely different path and stops making any sense. Horrible ending that was way out of place and served to neatly explain everything. A film ruined by needless twists and turns.
    Full Review »