Oh, Rodrigo Cortes, you so nearly got me.

After about an hour or so of Red Lights, I was hastily grabbing my film notepad, preparing to potentially break-up my current top ten list and install this psychic thriller-cum-horror into that hallowed company.

But then things got a bit silly, it all went wrong and the likes of Candyman, John Woo’s The Killer and Equilibrium could rest easy for another day.

There are very few things as frustrating for a film fan as a film that builds you up only to let you down, and boy does Red Lights do that.

In fact, I am probably being a little bit harsh here, but it is only because I was so engrossed, enthralled and quite simply hooked from the outset that the pay-off just didn’t work for me.

The set-up is nothing particularly groundbreaking, but interesting nonetheless.

Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy play college professors, who, as well as taking classes, trawl around the States debunking psychic phenomena and fraudulent psychics.

Weaver is especially adamant there is no such thing, which is why she keeps her son alive on a life-support machine, unable to let him go as she is convinced there is no afterlife.

Weaver and Murphy’s antics though take a jolt when superstar psychic Simon Silver (played by Robert DeNiro), comes out of retirement for a series of performances.

Silver, who has been analysed by all and sundry, is a sort of cross between David Blaine and Derren Brown and has been a recluse since a fierce critic collapsed and died of a heart attack at a show of his back in the 70s.

Naturally Weaver and Murphy’s characters (Drs Matheson and Buckley) are intrigued by Silver’s return, and set about unveiling him as a fraud with some gusto.

And that my friends is pretty much about it – there are a couple of subplots involving Toby Jones as a fellow professor and Elizabeth Olsen as a student who Murphy elects to shag, but they are certainly minor to the main thrust.

The performances are good all round, with Weaver and Murphy making a nice double-act, while De Niro elevates himself above the ‘phone it in’ performances we have seen of late.

And Cortes, having wowed with his previous flick, the ingenious Buried, is certainly a director to keep tabs on.

Red Lights will keep you guessing, and I am not about to give away the ending which will have you thinking back through the movie.

But the fact that it is merely a very good movie, rather than one that was tantalisingly close to being an excellent one, is a real shame.

 

Extras: A ten minute making of and the trailer

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.