Metascore
36

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 22
  2. Negative: 9 out of 22
  1. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Aug 2, 2012
    40
    A lot of talent comes up empty in Red Lights, a thriller that doesn't thrill.
  2. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Jul 25, 2012
    63
    Red Lights also shows a director who knows how to construct a story and build interest, but at the end, it flies apart. I wonder if there was an earlier draft. I suspect most audiences would prefer a film with an ending that plays by the same rules as the rest of the story.
  3. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jul 26, 2012
    38
    The storytelling proceeds in such a halting manner, with De Niro's speeches going on and on and on, that before long you'd kill for an easy scare.
  4. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Jul 11, 2012
    67
    As a sinister ESP showman, Robert De Niro is corny and fun.
  5. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Aug 2, 2012
    25
    This is ultimately a movie about highly intelligent people in pursuit of trivial nonsense: At least Mulder and Scully caught a real monster every once in a while.
  6. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Jul 12, 2012
    60
    The movie muddles to a rug-pulling ending that doesn't, despite its efforts, shed new light on what's come before.
  7. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Jul 12, 2012
    20
    A ghost-busting drama set in a world of mystics, mind-benders and various and sundry fake-psychic gobbledygook. But the weirdest thing is how all the fun gets lost in a bottom-drawer "X Files" story.
  8. Reviewed by: Bilge Ebiri
    Jul 13, 2012
    20
    Veering between tonal and narrative extremes, it's the kind of film that makes you long for the grim pomposity of something like "Signs."
  9. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Jul 11, 2012
    25
    Red Lights goes astray on so many levels that I gave up trying to figure it out before the end of the second reel.
  10. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Jul 13, 2012
    25
    Gets sillier and sillier as it goes along.
  11. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Aug 2, 2012
    42
    By the time the film reaches its convoluted, bombastic and preposterous climax, any sense of real magic that it once conveyed has utterly vanished.
  12. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    Aug 2, 2012
    50
    When its biggest trick is finally revealed, it is not entirely satisfying.
  13. Reviewed by: Michael Nordine
    Jul 12, 2012
    38
    That all the good things--and there are several--Red Lights has going for it are ultimately in service of an ending that might even make M. Night Shyamalan cringe represents one of the year's biggest missed opportunities.
  14. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Jul 11, 2012
    42
    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.
  15. Reviewed by: Adam Litovitz
    Aug 10, 2012
    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.
  16. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    Jul 12, 2012
    50
    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.
  17. Reviewed by: William Goss
    Jul 25, 2012
    83
    The truth is, while Red Lights isn't terrifically scary, it is thrilling in other ways, constantly playful and often tongue-in-cheek as it works through the hokey conventions of the genre.
  18. Reviewed by: Mary Pols
    Jul 12, 2012
    30
    Red Lights reaches for a "The Sixth Sense"-style twist and whiffs it completely.
  19. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Jul 10, 2012
    20
    Never do you sense an overriding intelligence; Cortés once found laughs and shocks within the coffin-confined Buried, but here's he's got too much room to wander into realms of the ridiculous.
  20. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Jul 12, 2012
    50
    It's mystifying how such a muddled and silly movie drew the talented cast it did.
  21. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Jul 7, 2012
    40
    Instead of adding to the experience, the picture's ill-conceived twists amount to a severe miscalculation on Cortes' part.
  22. Reviewed by: Nick Pinkerton
    Jul 10, 2012
    40
    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
5.5

Mixed or average reviews- based on 42 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 8
  2. Negative: 4 out of 8
  1. Jul 16, 2012
    3
    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. Mar 4, 2014
    2
    A pretentious mess of a film. It was such a promising premise and it went along greatly for the first third of the film, but as soon as Weaver's character is suddenly taken out of the picture in an almost even contrived manner, the film plummets at a shockingly awful rate. Seriously sloppy editing and pacing, pretentious monologues that make no sense and the final twist just makes the overall film drop like an anvil Full Review »
  3. Mar 15, 2013
    1
    A poorly-designed, poorly-told story filled with robotic characters spouting clunky dialogue. But for the semi-success of this writer-director's last effort (Buried 2010) this film would probably never have been made. If you want a good movie to watch you won't find it here. Full Review »