What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Red Lights is a thriller about paranormal researchers investigating a famous psychic who may or may not be legit. It has some horror elements and some scary stuff, as well as fighting, arguing, a little blood and gore, and characters dying. And there's a general uneasy, tense feeling throughout the movie. Language is the other major issue, with strong words like "f--k" and "s--t" (though they're used relatively infrequently). An older character is seen popping unidentified prescription pills.
What's the story?
Dr. Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) and her young partner, Tom Buckley (Cillian Murphy), are top paranormal investigators. After debunking a haunting and a fake seance, Tom discovers that a famous psychic, Simon Silver (Robert De Niro), is coming out of retirement and going back on tour. Tom insists that they look into him and his act, but Margaret resists due to a painful previous encounter with Silver. Tom continues his investigation, bringing in a gifted student, Sally (Elizabeth Olsen), for help. As Tom becomes more entrenched in a dangerous and mysterious world, he likewise becomes more obsessed. The only answer to the puzzle lies in what's real and what's just illusion.
Is it any good?
Director Rodrigo Cortes last brought us Buried, a gruelingly intense thriller that used only one on-screen actor and one location. He continues that sense of paranoia, claustrophobia, and tension in this more ambitious movie. RED LIGHTS' very subtle writing, editing, and music create a mood of uneasiness and mistrust. Certain scenes don't even seem to be "really" happening. It's magnificently off-kilter and constantly gripping.
The movie's main drawback is that, to reach its conclusion, it eventually answers its own unanswerable questions. But it can be argued that this is necessary for Tom's character, even if it hurts the story; it's an inevitable conclusion in his personal journey. Plus, Cortes draws excellent performances from Weaver (her best in ages), Murphy, and even DeNiro, who's more mesmerizing and menacing than he has been in years.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about Red Lights' violence. Even though there are no shootouts and few actual scenes of explosive violence, how do the filmmakers create a general mood of tension?
Is the movie scary? Is it any less scary when the "ghosts" aren't real?
Do you believe in psychic phenomena? Did the movie change your mind in any way? Does it matter whether Red Lights definitively answers the question about psychics being legitimate?