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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Red Lights (Advanced Screening) Review - by Joshua Handler

Red Lights Review
by Joshua Handler
2012, 113 minutes
Rated R language and some violence

Red Lights has similar problems to many modern horror/thrillers.  It starts out good, not great, then takes a turn for the worst in the second half.  Red Lights premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival back in January and is directed by Rodrigo Cortés, the director of the brilliant Buried.  It stars Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver, Robert DeNiro, Elizabeth Olsen, Toby Jones, and Craig Roberts.  

Let me start with the positive aspects of this movie before I talk about anything else.  The acting, for starters is very good.  Cillian Murphy is the perfect lead for this film.  After having done such horror/thrillers as 28 Days Later... and Red Eye, this is the perfect film for him.  He plays his character Tom Buckley with a cool intensity, but still makes him likable.  Weaver and De Niro are also very good, as always.

The first three-quarters of the movie is very intriguing as very little is explained and we are kept guessing.  Mysterious events occur out of the blue and make me jump.  Then, during the last 10 or 15 minutes when there are a few "big" reveals (one of which I guessed half way through), the movie turns from creepy and fun to dumb.  The final reveal is so random and ridiculous that it ruined all of what came before it.  And, going back through the rest of the film, it doesn't seem to make sense.

I cannot stand movies that have that one last end twist that ruins it.  The epitome of this is High Tension.  It starts off as a gory and incredibly well-made horror film, but just has to throw in an end twist.  The twist is the worst that I have ever seen and literally derails the whole film.  The twist makes no sense and could not possibly fit in with the rest of the film (if you see this movie, you'll instantly know what I mean).  Red Lights does the same thing, but the twist isn't quite as egregiously dumb.

Though the twist is dumb (which makes the rest of the movie dumb too), the movie isn't all terrible.  As mentioned, there were some great "jump scenes" and good intrigue that Cortés builds.  Also, there is one scene in which Cillian Murphy's character gets savagely beat up in a bathroom which was thrilling.  It is brutal, but well-done.  When talking about this scene at the screening that I attended, Murphy told us that it was mostly him, not a double in the scene, and that he "f*cking love the bathroom scene."

Overall, Red Lights is not good, but not terrible.  I would not recommend seeing it, however I think that there will be many that will enjoy it and may like the ending (many in the audience did).  Maybe you'll like it.  If you do (or don't) please leave comments below to discuss.

Red Lights will open in limited release on July 13.


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