Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 22 Critics What's this?

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Mixed or average reviews- based on 43 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: Veteran paranormal researchers Dr. Margaret Matheson and Tom Buckley debunk fraudulent claims of ghost whispering, faith healing and other psychic phenomena by detecting what Matheson calls “red lights,” the subtle tricks behind every staged supernatural occurrence. But when the legendary blind psychic Simon Silver comes out of retirement after 30 years, his once-fearless adversary Matheson warns Buckley to back off, fearing reprisal from the powerful Silver. Determined to discredit Silver, Buckley and his star student use every tool at their disposal to uncover the truth behind the charismatic, spoon-bending, mind reader. But Buckley is forced to reexamine his own core beliefs as his quest builds to an explosive conclusion. (Millennium Entertainment) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 22
  2. Negative: 9 out of 22
  1. Reviewed by: William Goss
    Jul 25, 2012
    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.
  2. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Jul 25, 2012
    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: Adam Litovitz
    Aug 10, 2012
    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.
  4. 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.
  5. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jul 26, 2012
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Mary Pols
    Jul 12, 2012
    Red Lights reaches for a "The Sixth Sense"-style twist and whiffs it completely.
  7. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Jul 10, 2012
    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.

See all 22 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 9
  2. Negative: 4 out of 9
  1. Oct 15, 2012
    Red Lights is an obscure thriller that attracts a lot of great talents, a genre that was popularised by 'Sixth Sense' a number of years back. Slow burn plot, talky, with a twist in the end. It;s done quite well here. Too bad nobody cares anymore. It is actually meticulously researched by the Writer-Director, and while the last third went out like any other supernatural thriller out there, it does raise a lot of issues about paranormal activities, whether they are fake or not. De Niro again plays the usual 'I'm sooooo creepy' routine that he is famous for. It's the nuanced performances of the ever reliable Cillian Murphy and Sigourney Weaver that elevates this material. Expand
  2. Feb 2, 2013
    Red Lights seemed like an interesting movie, because of the statement that proposes: every psychic is a fraud and there are many ways to expose them. This last thing is what Doctor Matheson and Tom Buckley do for living. So if you discover someone that apparently has powers, means that you are taking something for granted; here appears the idea of red lights, which are things that should not be there and will reveal you the trick. After all these, the film begins evaluating concepts like beliefs, religion, life after death, masses manipulation and credulity. The problem is that at the ending everything gets so distorted that becomes absurd. All the topics that the movie presents at the beginning are destroyed and what do we obtain? Purely crap. The story could have deepened with the concepts mentioned before or simply continue to where it was going. What a great disappointment, definitely Rodrigo Cortes cannot manage something like this. A story of enormous potential goes to waste. Expand
  3. Feb 6, 2013
    You see this too many times, a film starting off so well, only to unravel and fall apart so carelessly and predictably at the climax that its difficult to appreciate the film at all, simply because it worsens as the minutes tick on.
    The cast was there, Sigourney Weaver, Cillian Murphy and Robert De Niro, but what unfolded was simply muddled and ended up going for cheap thrills over psychological warfare.
    We see Dr. Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) quite successfully debunk fraudulent mediums or psychics, doing so through how exactly person in question manages to fool the victim. Why exactly was this not developed upon? This was gripping, interesting, and was a different sort of thrill.
    Murphy plays her assistant Tom Buckley, who begins to obsess over investigating Simon Silver (De Niro).
    De Niro does have a great screen presence in the film, but it is simply wasted.
    What follows is a tale of cheap scare tactics and pointless situations (bathroom fight) that really add up to nothing. It was a real shame to see the film going downhill after quite a mysterious and striking beginning.
    If the 'twist' ending wasn't worked out a long time before it happened, I doubt you were watching the same film I was, it was quite clear which direction the plot was taking, only problem being suspenseful films using the same path did it better, like The Illusionist.
    With messy cinematography that was more confusing than it was exciting, it all equals out to a disappointing film that had a thought-provoking premise, but just didn't deliver a unique stance or fluid story.
  4. 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
    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.
  5. 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; 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
  6. Feb 19, 2013
    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
  7. Mar 15, 2013
    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. Expand

See all 9 User Reviews