Paranormal investigators Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) and Tom Buckley (Cillian Murphy) spend their time finding the fraudulent in every outbreak of the weird and inexplicable. “We look for red lights,” Weaver’s perpetually pinch-faced prof lectures her class. “Discordant notes … things that shouldn’t be there.” And there you have it, the spot-on definition of Red Lights, a discordant thing that shouldn’t be there, or here, or anywhere.
Stultifying from start to finish, this mess of a movie is supremely incoherent—plot-, dialogue- and character-wise. Not one moment is visually arresting or suspenseful or even connected to the one that follows. All the players are dour, affectless, implausible. Even the climactic twist fails to shake you out of your stupor; so confused and clumsy is its presentation that one of the characters has to keep explaining … and explaining … what just happened.
Keep in mind, for future reference, that Rodrigo Cortés—writer, director and editor—is entirely responsible for spawning this misshapen thing. Let out to play from the single-location constraints of Buried, Cortés tries for what he must imagine are stylistic pyrotechnics. His camera circles and careens and jump-cuts, not because there are valid reasons for seeing any part of this particular movie world that way, but because that’s what arty filmmakers do, isn’t it?