Keep your eyes wide open

“Close Your Eyes” (First Look Pictures) is a psychological thriller that tells the story of Dr. Michael Strother (Goran Visnjic), a hypnotist living in London who has the ability to read people’s minds. When a patient of his, Detective Janet Losey (Shirley Henderson), realizes his gift, she entices him to help her on a child abduction case. The case involves a young girl, Heather, who has recently escaped from her abductor and is so traumatized that she has been struck mute. After examining the tattoos that have been put on Heather’s body and researching the meaning behind the gibberish, she murmurs, Michael and Janet deduce that her abductor used magical and supernatural powers on his victims. Michael is the only one who can reach inside Heather’s mind to gain clues about the abductor’s identity and whereabouts.

It is not surprising to learn that “Close Your Eyes” is inspired by a novel, as many of the conversations are filled with cheesy lines that would be much easier to accept in print. Nevertheless, British director Nick Willing has filled the film with several impressive visual sequences in which the audience witnesses the montage of images seen during hypnosis. These visual risks are what successfully set “Close Your Eyes” apart from other psychological thrillers with related plots.

As Michael and Janet go further into the investigation, things grow more complicated for them and they become obsessed with the case. All of the performances in the movie are strong, and it is refreshing and more believable to watch an entire cast of actors who are not immediately recognizable. The references to religious mythology become tiresome, but the surprising goriness of a handful of scenes, and the turns in the plot toward the end of the film will keep the audience’s attention. “Close Your Eyes” plays out like an old-fashioned thriller glazed with modern visual styles that make it an enjoyable and satisfying film to watch.

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