There were a couple of places where I had to close my eyes in Close Your Eyes, but out of disgust rather than fear. This supernatural thriller, set on the cold and clammy streets of London, is willing to inject a hypodermic needle in someone's eyeball to get a rise out of us. Elsewhere, a live rat gets sewn into a man's stomach, wriggling around while the man quite understandably screams his head off. But the movie as a whole, which embraces everything from paranormal psychology to pagan rituals, is about as scary as a Ouija board.
Goran Visnjic ("ER") stars as a hypnotherapist reluctantly pulled into a case involving a serial killer who abducts children, covers them with hieroglyphic tattoos, transfuses his own blood into their veins and, whenever the movie needs another jolt, makes hideous faces at the camera. It seems that one of the killer's abductees got away, and locked inside her head are the answers to all our questions - questions like, What the hell's going on? Alas, nobody knows, not even Visnjic's Michael Strother, who, in addition to being a hypnotist, is a mind-reader.
Strother is trying to start a new life in London, having abused his hypnotic powers back in the States, and a local detective played by Janet Losey uses that against him, forcing him to share his mind-readings. They're shared with us too, courtesy of director Nick Willing, but there isn't much to them. Willing has an eye: Close Your Eyes features interiors that belong in a back issue of Architectural Digest. What he doesn't have is a nose, the ability to infuse a movie with the smell of fear. Flashing pentagrams at us just doesn't do it. Pentagrams don't kill, people kill.