Owen Gleiberman
April 21, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Close Your Eyes

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
108 minutes
Limited Release Date
04/23/04
performer
Paddy Considine, Goran Visnjic, Shirley Henderson, Miranda Otto
director
Nick Willing
distributor
First Look
author
William Brookfield, Nick Willing
genre
Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a D

Close Your Eyes is a horror movie for anyone who could still get creeped out by the sight of a pentagram. It’s like one of the ”Hellraiser” films without Pinhead or very much hell. There is a little teensy bit of hell: In what’s meant to be the primal scene of terror, a little blond girl (Sophie Stuckey) who has been kidnapped glimpses some sinister rite from inside a wicker basket. The dark happenings are presided over by an aging bald man who looks like something out of an underground porn video. The girl then sits around, mute, her skin branded with tattoos. Of ancient zodiac signs. And pentagrams!

Are you scared yet? ”Close Your Eyes,” a cheaply made piece of ”psychological” occult schlock, subjects you to that depressing stop-and-go rhythm that defines inept fantasy thrillers. Each nightmare hallucination that is all atmosphere is followed by 15 minutes of clunky exposition with no atmosphere at all. Goran Visnjic, looking very much like a brooding Eastern European Bryan Ferry, plays a hypnotherapist who can enter the dreams of his patients — which means, in essence, that he’s got fragments of bad horror films drifting into his head. He’s out to solve the mystery of the little blond girl, but by the time he connects 10 churches on a London map into (you guessed it) a pentagram, you know you’re stranded in the no-fright zone.

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