User Score
5.5

Mixed or average reviews- based on 42 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 42
  2. Negative: 7 out of 42

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  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. Collapse
  2. 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.
  3. Feb 19, 2013
    3
    A sad silly film. It really has no point. Nothing is at stake, it doesn't matter who is right or who is wrong. Is it the end of the world if we discover scientific evidence for paranormal activity? They make a really big deal out of the possibility of a bad scientific report being made, like it could change the world, but it's all rather silly, and has little to no suspense. There is some talent involved in the film, it is visually visceral, the actors have some inspired moments, in a way it forces you to feel emotions with its visuals and sounds, rather than having any real content to feel any thing about. You get two twists at the end which is nice, because one of the twists is very predictable. Over all a disappointment, because it had so much talent, but in the end lacked a good story, or script, or any real meaning. Expand
  4. 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 Expand
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: 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.
  2. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    Aug 2, 2012
    50
    When its biggest trick is finally revealed, it is not entirely satisfying.
  3. 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.