Rodrigo Cortes’ film starts off well enough, with paranormal debunkers Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy showing off their methodology, but plummets into oblivion as soon as Ripley’s measured presence has exited scene left. Not only is the writer’s dialogue lousy, he coaxes an annoyingly over-wrought performance from Murphy that makes his character seem ridiculously unscientific and idiotic. As director too, Cortes over-emphasises all the wrong moments and generally fails to building momentum or make much of an impact. Instead he is content to pile on the clichés and disorientating hand-held camera.
By far the best scene is a talk show appearance by Weaver early on where her co-guests and presenter ambush her. De Niro does little of note, other than showing off his contact lenses. His psychic showman is a big ham, so it should be a good fit for him but Eugenio Mira’s brief role as De Niro’s younger self is much more memorable (albeit a rather comedy De Niro impression).
It wouldn’t matter so much that there’s nothing very thoughtful in here on the subject of science versus superstition if Cortes was telling an enthralling story, but he’s scripted a series of disconnected scenes that he then still fails to make coherent in the editing (quite what the fight in the toilet is all about escapes me). And without strong characterisation the (really not so surprising) twist is a bit of a shrug.