Sundance Journal: ‘Red Lights’

The first two-thirds of ‘Red Lights’ make a fine psychological thriller. In the last third, however, the train of thought totally derails, and the film has one of the messiest endings I’ve ever witnessed.

Here’s a movie that needs a complete reshoot. Well, first the people who bought it need to test it with audiences, and have those viewers tell them the same thing I’m saying now. The last ten minutes need to be rewritten and reshot to make a completely different ending.

Cillian Murphy and Sigourney Weaver are paranormal investigators –not like the ones you’re thinking of, though. They’re skeptics who they try to disprove with scientific experiments the supernatural phenomena they get called in to investigate. They also investigate performance psychics to find out their secrets and shine a light on the trickery they use.

The first part of the film almost works like a psychic version of ‘The Prestige’. Cillian Murphy’s character, Tom Buckley, is obsessed with the world’s most famous psychic, Simon Silver (Robert De Niro). As a scientist, Tom has to know exactly how Silver does his tricks, and he’ll go to great lengths to find out.

It all works smoothly as a semi-exciting thriller that would play well in cinemas, until the last reel. The ending is quite possibly one of the worst conceived I’ve ever seen. That’s what everyone else here is saying too. Whether they be press or regular festival-goers, the consensus is that the first part of the movie is great, but that ending blows. It’s terrible. Not to mention the movie’s complete disregard for Elizabeth Olsen. This great actress is in the movie, yet nothing substantial is done with her. It’s a real shame.

The movie has been bought, so it’ll be out in theaters at some point. Hopefully, the filmmakers have the foresight to reshoot the ending. There’s no way that people will buy the crap being shoveling with the current end of the movie.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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