Red Eye

Release Date: January 10, 2006

Wes Craven’s latest thriller, Red Eye, is like Scream in the sky minus the slasher gore included in his usual films and sadly the humor as well.

The Film
After attending the funeral of her grandmother, Lisa Reisert a young hotel manager at a fancy 5 star hotel must take the red eye flight back to Miami in time for work the next day. While at the airport she meets Jackson Ripner (yes, the name should have rang warning bells) and flirt over drinks before take-off. Due to the ads for this film and the fact that it’s a thriller, an audience member cannot help but feel that Jackson is a bad guy right from the start. Thus, you might not be surprised to watch that once in the air, Jackson reveals to Lisa his real reason for being on board. He needs her help to kill a politician and his family who are all scheduled to stay at the hotel that Lisa is the manager of. If she refuses to help put the politician and his family in danger by placing them in a less protected hotel room, he will have her father killed never mind her own life. Dealing with her own guilt at being involved in this assignation plot Lisa tries her best to fight back, alert the other passengers and get out of the situation, resulting in some blows being endured and a creepy confrontation in the small on board bathroom.

From the original TV previews I thought this film would simply be an airplane thriller with the plot taking place solely on the plane, yet there are some before and after the flight scenes, the after especially suspenseful. I also didn’t understand the reasons for her being terrorized while on her Red Eye flight, but the political assassin ties add another level to the in flight abduction.

Eventually the upper hand flips and Lisa becomes the kick butt heroine we knew that she could be, employing smart maneuvering tactics despite being stalked by a killer and worrying about her and her dad’s life.

The Extras
There quite a few extras including an Audio Commentary with director Craven, whose directorial insight is always interesting. There’s also a feature on The Making of Red Eye including its special effects and use of the plane, as well as another feature titled, “Wes Craven: A New Kind of Thriller.” There is also a Gag Reel, with a few fun clips the rest look forced though.

The Delivery
The action and suspenseful music are interwoven nicely as are the special effects and the mock-up of the plane. It is mixed well in a basic 5.1 Surround mix and it is formatted in an enhanced wide screen version to work well with you 16×9 (Widescreen) television. The film was visually stimulating to begin with, and the DVD shows it off pretty well.

The Final Cut
Although the premise is thrilling and there are some intense moments, there’s also a lot of unnecessary parts and prolonged scenes of repeating the same conversations. I felt it had a strong start and finish but during the end of the middle section it dragged a bit and lost my interest. Yet, Rachel McAdams does a great job making her fear seam real and her character interesting, which helped the just OK sections.

The Upside:
Rachel McAdams is as always beautiful to watch and does a good job at being a Wes Craven no-nonsense heroine, Cillian Murphy is just as creepy as his Batman Begin’s Scarecrow character and you didn’t pay to see this in theaters.
The Downside:
You might get annoyed with some of the plot twists and dragging of scenes in the middle.
On the Side:
Red Eye was originally written for acting couple Sean Penn and Robin Wright Penn. However, Wes Craven opted for younger leads.

Making the Grade:
The Film: C+
The Delivery: B
The Extras: B
Overall: B-

Tags: Red Eye, Wes Craven, Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy, Dreamworks