Thursday, October 25, 2012

Horror Thoughts ‘12—Red Lights (2012) **½

R, 113 min.
Director/Writer: Rodrigo Cortés
Starring: Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver, Robert DeNiro, Elizabeth Olsen, Toby Jones, Joely Richardson

The new thriller “Red Lights” looks behind the curtain of celebrity psychics. It follows a couple of scientists who spend their extracurricular time debunking psychic and paranormal phenomena. The supporters of psychics refer them to as “professional skeptics.” Robert DeNiro plays a famous blind psychic, who disappeared from the public eye after some controversy in the ‘70s. Now, he’s back trying to make people think he can read their minds again. But, can he?

It isn’t really his story, but rather a look into the world of debunking such people. Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy play the scientists. Murphy’s character is actually a physicist. Why he got wrapped up in psychic phenomena is a question asked by many, but not his partner. She is only interested in exposing fraud using scientific method. She has crossed paths with the blind psychic before.

The movie takes on a horror feel by presupposing that, while most psychics are con artists, this guy could very well be the real thing. Either that, or he’s willing to go to any length to keep his secret. I have to say that making this guy blind allowed the developments to be a little too obvious. However, the twist of it all lies not in the truth of whether this guy is really psychic or not. The twist is rather genius, and I certainly will not reveal it here.

The movie has all the moodiness and even some jolts necessary to pass it off for a legitimate horror flick. It is also very character oriented. It takes its time and develops the characters and plot in an interesting manner. If the pyrotechnics of what these psychic con men pull off seem a little over the top, well they are since the scientists are working so hard to debunk them. I know it can’t be too easy for them, but I have to wonder whether there’s really enough money in the psychic line of business to pull off what some of these people do on their victims. Not enough is revealed about some of their scams. But, I did like the twist.

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