Movie Reviews: “Red Lights” (2012)

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Starring Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver, Elizabeth Olsen, & Robert De Niro.

Murphy and Weaver star as Tom Buckley & Margaret Matheson, a skeptical group of paranormal researchers. They’ve debunked claims for years, yet to see something extraordinary and real, that is until world-famous blind psychic Simon Silver (De Niro) comes out of retirement. The closer they get to examining his stage show, the more horrible events happen around them. How far will they go to uncover the truth?

“Red Lights” held my attention for most of the duration, but lost me towards the climax. It’s an interesting concept close to my heart. The paranormal world had always fascinated me, as has truth seeking. This film does that field justice. The performances by Murphy, Weaver and De Niro are all as good as you’d think, but are slightly limited by script issues. This could have been fantastic with a more independent studio, but ended up just being all right. A lot of my overall feelings of a film depend on how they finish. Take that into consideration. Worth seeing though.

2.5 out of 4.0 stars.

Film Reviews: “Grave Encounters” (2011)

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The best way to describe “Grave Encounters” is that it’s the movie version of a ghost hunting TV show, but on steroids. A paranormal team is investigating an old abandoned hospital for their show, and is locked down for the night. The host is a direct copy of Zak Bagans from “Ghost Adventures”, which is both funny and sad.

At first the place seems dead (no pun intended) with little activity occurring. Just as the team is ready to pack up for the night, things get intense, and then bizarre.

I found “Grave Encounters” to be entertaining, but also somewhat of a car wreck. The acting was annoying. I felt like the team should have been more freaked out by things that were happening- such as not being able to find an exit to the building, coming face to face with terrifying entities, and bloody scratches on an investigator’s back.
To the film’s credit, there are some good jump scares and a feeling of tension/claustrophobic atmosphere that kept me watching. I wanted to know how all of this would end.

I have a pet peeve about how docu-style, 1st person perspective horror films end. Unfortunately, this one does what so many of the others have done. Needless to say I didn’t care for the ending. Perhaps with a better conclusion, I would have given it a higher rating.

2.0 out of 4.0 stars.