“Night Visions” (tonight at 9 on Channels 4, 36 and 39) is a supernatural buddy movie about a gruff, tough cop paired with a naive female partner who happens to be telepathic and have multiple personalities--sort of a Nick Nolte-meets-Sybil thing.
Wes Craven directed and co-wrote, but there’s scant trace of any of the style or imagination that marked his best feature horror films, such as “Nightmare on Elm Street.” Instead, he has hit rock bottom with this hokey, ill-conceived cross between “Eyes of Laura Mars” and “48 HRS,” which has failed pilot written all over it and fails even minimal credulity tests both as a cop picture and thriller.
James Remar--a character actor attempting to make the leap from villain to hero, a la Willem Dafoe--is the crusty, hard-drinking, hard-driving veteran of the force, so wired that he terrorizes suspects to the point of incontinence. Illogically, while investigating a highly publicized serial killer case, he’s required to drag along a criminal psychology grad student, Loryn Locklin, whom no one initially seems to realize is a gifted psychic.
The supernatural elements are unnecessarily confusing. Locklin keeps going into strange trances where she seems to turn into someone else, and initially, we figure she is telepathically interlocking with other characters (possibly the impending victims), or maybe channeling one of Ramtha’s Valley Girl cousins. But eventually it turns out she has got wacky multiple personalities as well as soothsaying talent. Not exactly someone you want on an LAPD ride-along program.
In any case, the average viewer’s psychic powers will prove much better than the heroine’s rather low-wattage abilities. The identity of the killer is so obviously telegraphed throughout that if you don’t figure it out within the first 45 minutes, you might check your pulse to make sure you haven’t already been his next victim.
“You know what?” a policewoman pal tells Locklin. “You are totally spooky!” Not so with the tacky “Night Visions,” which has to settle for totally contrived.