Goran Visnjic plays a different kind of doctor for once in Close Your Eyes, a B-grade thriller that manages to entertain on many levels.
Visnjic, best known for his character of Dr. Luka Kovac on "E.R.," plays Dr. Michael Strother here, a hypnotherapist who has telepathic abilities. When a London police officer discovers his talents, she enlists him to help her tap into the mind of a small girl who is the only survivor of a ruthless serial killer. Strother soon begins to unravel the mystery surrounding the killer's identity, leading to the discovery of devil worship and other less-than-Christian practices. Shirley Henderson, who plays Moaning Myrtle in the Harry Potter movies, also stars.
Close Your Eyes, also known as Dr. Sleep and Hypnotic in various parts of the world (both of which are better titles), is an intriguing though not especially original thriller that has its fair share of religious mystery, suspense and a tad bit of supernatural moments. It is a movie that is surprisingly entertaining and quick-paced, but once the credits end, completely forgettable. It isn't bad - in fact, it is amazingly decent - but at the same time offers little in the way of original storytelling or plot. After all, how many movies have revolved around killers that worship some kind of ancient cult?
Thankfully, Close Your Eyes manages to avoid any cheesiness revolving around the lead character's telepathic abilities. The movie does a good job of never spending too much time explaining how he does his tricks and instead just takes them for granted, which helps the story avoid any unnecessary subplots that would only clutter it.
Visnjic is good in the lead, but it is still up in the air whether he has what it takes to be a Hollywood leading man. He has potential, but I have yet to see him in a role that really distinguishes himself from his other characters. Henderson is okay as his co-star, but she isn't too impressive in any way or form. Miranda Otto, best known for her character Eowyn in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and Paddy Considine, who showed Oscar strength in last year's In America, are both poorly allocated.
While Close Your Eyes generally does not have a low-budget look about it, it does feel like a low-budget movie at times. There is just something about the execution of the script that seems a bit off, which, of course, designates it into that B-grade range. The dream sequences are questionable as well.
Close Your Eyes is worth checking out if you are into the genre, but it adds nothing new. It's harmless and oftentimes entertaining, but not outstanding.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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