[Red Lights]
Synopsis:Psychologist Margaret Matheson and her assistant study paranormal activity, which leads them to investigate a world-renowned psychic who has resurfaced years after his toughest critic mysteriously passed away.

Cast:Cillian Murphy, Tom Buckley, Sigourney Weaver, Robert De Niro, Toby Jones, Paul Shackleton, Joely Richardson, Elizabeth Olsen, Craig Roberts.

My Thoughts:When "she" died, the movie died with her.

Review:"Red Lights" is a horror/thriller from filmmaker Rodrigo CortÚs. That follows a pair of paranormal researchers. Who're moreso in the business of "debunking", paranormal activity than actually "researching" it. Weaver and Murphy play these characters, Margaret Matheson and Tom Buckley. The two of them seem to get a kick out of proving that each new "alleged" incident of Paranormal Activity they investigate.

Turns out to have a rational explanation. Which usually ends up being someone in the household using "trickery" of their own creation. Or some fraudster shouting about how he can heal the sick. And knows about their ailments and sufferage. But soon...the two come into contact with a mysterious man named Simon Silver (DeNiro). Who bills himself as a world-renowned psychic. Margaret and Tom plan to get to the bottom of his so-called "abilities". But when a meeting with him stirs up a painful topic from Margaret's past, she soon begins to crack.



And later on, mysteriously dies. Now...Tom, aided by a student from one of Margaret's classes on "debunking paranormal phenomena"...plans to solve the real mystery behind, Simon Silver. And his alleged abilities. "Red Lights" had "real" potential. It could've been scary, creepy, and disturbing. If...the story had went in a different direction. But it didn't. And so the film turns out as a character driven drama. Heavy on the drama part. Very, VERY relaxed on the thriller aspects. Sadly so. I wanted to be at least thrilled a little bit.

But instead, I got mostly boredom. With a little intrigue mixed in. I didn't go into this movie expecting a blood and gore fest. With terror and monsters abound. I "knew" what kind of movie this was going in. But what I was expecting and hoping for, was a film that at least made me creeped out a bit. And maybe disturbed, and perturbed on more than one occasion. But that's not to say "Red Lights" was a TOTAL loss. First and foremost, the movie starts out well.



And the on-screen chemistry between Murphy and Weaver was fantastic! But at one point in the movie, her character is emotionally disturbed by an apparent "vision", that DeNiro's character Simon Silver has. Pertaining to a lost loved one of hers. That's when her character begins to break down, and ultimately dies. But that's also when the movie itself dies. I think two things happened here.
One...we were spoiled by having one of the best actresses in the business, Mrs. Weaver...carry a film with Cillian Murphy for about half way through the movie. But once her character is killed off. The movie loses its luster. Its intrigue, and swaggy demeanor. It becomes less fun, less interesting. More cat-and-mouse. And too "by the numbers". To make matters worse. Weaver's departure as the films lead female, leaves a character vacuum to be filled. And who steps in to fill that vacuum? Elizabeth Olsen!


Yes, one of the worst up and coming actresses working today! I mean this strictly from a viewership perspective of course. I don't personally know the woman. But if you've seen her performance in the "Silent House" remake. You'd know she's about as fun and interesting to watch on screen as a dancing Q-tip. The woman doesn't emote very well, nor does she have that ability to evoke sympathy, or emotion from the viewers watching her perform.



She always comes off in her characters as plain, flat, and boring. Therefore, Murphy is tasked with carrying the majority of the movie post-Weaver's characters death scene. And from there, DeNiro has to hold up his end as well. DeNiro's character Simon Silver is an interesting one. But perhaps, the part was written to rambunctious for the veteran actor. Silver comes off as this "diety" type of person.

Who never misses an opportunity to literally "perform", while he's displaying his "miracle works". But I think, had the character been more reserved and laid back. And sinister in demeanor. The mechanics of the movie would've worked better. Instead, Silver reminds me of one of those church preachers. Who is always about the flash and never about the message. But it is fun watching Murphy pretty much rack his brain trying to figure Simon out, and nail him for the total fraud he believes him to be.

But this movie just struggles and suffers to be what it was, prior to Sigourney's character dying. It never quite reaches that level again. And mostly because her replacement, Olsen's character Sally. Is just poorly written, developed, and then there's the fact that...it was Elizabeth Olsen. Playing her. "Red Lights" does manage to cook up a very intense ending. Which also has hints and bits and pieces of being bizarre, weird, but clever in its own way as well. But at the conclusion of this movie, it got me dwelling on one aspect.



In particular in today's age of Paranormal shows and t.v. in general. It is quite easy to "make stuff up". And "create ghosts", "weird sounds". All in the name of exciting and thrilling t.v. Perhaps in real life, a group of paranormal debunkers would be a good idea. I mean, the "paranormal tv show" industry is growing right? Perhaps it needs a few watchmen and watchwomen, to keep the real separated from the fake. If...there is any "real", at all? Just an observation.

At any rate, this isn't a movie for people who don't like slowly-unfolding genre thrillers, with horror elements. If you want things to come quick and in-your-face, might wanna pass this one up. But if you're a fan of Murphy, Weaver, and DeNiro. And even more curiosity-piqued by all three being in the same movie. And can also tolerate Elizabeth Olsen's abhorrent acting from time to time...give "Red Lights" a whirl. It's not great, but it has its moments.

THE GOOD:Weaver, Murphy, and DeNiro give good performances. The movie never misses a beat with Weaver's character and her many scenes early on in the movie. The ending was well done too. Mixing various elements together for a suspense-filled finale.

THE BAD:ELIZABETH OLSEN! Don't wanna make it seem like I am personally ragging on this young lady. Again, she could be the nicest person in the world. But Horror or Thriller is not her genre. It also didn't help that her characters was poorly written. But when Sigourney Weaver dies in a movie, and her replacement in the story to step to the forefront if Elizabeth Olsen? Come on now! Add to that, the movie needed more genuinely scary moments, and Deniro's character, Simon Silver should've been more dark and mysterious. Not charismatic-cult-leader like.

OVERALL:Two stars out of four.





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