Newest Review: ... ideas on Jacks part. The start of film doesn't give a great deal away. It involves Lisa arriving at the airport to find her flight del... more
Run the Red Eye over this thriller
Red Eye (DVD)
Member Name: bilbob20
Red Eye (DVD)
Advantages: Excellent performances and a decent script
Disadvantages: A bit predictable and all too coincidental
After attending her grandmothers funeral, Lisa Reisert prepares to return to work flying on the red eye. When she meets handsome stranger Jackson (his full name is a dead giveaway) as she prepares to board, she soon finds herself in trouble. You see, Jackson is part of a conspiracy to assassinate a campaigning politician, and said politician is co-incidently staying at the hotel where Lisa works as a manager. With the threat of her father being murdered, Lisa has no choice but to co-operate. Soon, she is involved in a game of cat and mouse with Jackson as she attempts to save both her father and her job.
Its been a while since Wes Craven has done anything of note. He re-invented horror with his original Nightmare On Elm Street film, and then re-defined it twice with the self-referential sequel New Nightmare and the mega-successful Scream. But the last Scream film was rotten to the core and everything he has done since has met with a deafening silence from both the critics and the box office. Once again, however Craven turns his hand to the thriller - this time making his villain a very real menace and his victim an emotionally scarred but credible heroine. The shocks are somewhat predictable, and the script is only mildly effective. But the use of a claustrophobic plane, and the subsequent battle-to-the-death are effectively done. That the film requires so much suspension of belief doesn't detract from a tense and taut thriller. However, long after the film is over, you cant help but wish the scenario Lisa finds herself in could have been a little less co-incidental and a little more believable.
Rachel McAdams is going great guns in Hollywood. After successful turns in weepy The Notebook and her bitchy turn in Mean Girls, she shifts easily into the role of damsel in distress. But unlike other heroines of Craven's horror, she is neither too knowing or too wimpy. She fights when its required, and cries when she feels weak, and boy can the chick scream. McAdams has a great career ahead of her, and it certainly doesn't do her any harm to stick herself in a scenario where she is far better than the material. Cillian Murphy also makes for a terrific villian. Wes usually specialises in monsters in pizza-make up, or silly masks, so its nice to see him present something altogether more human. Murphy is both mysterious and absolutely terrifying, and his dead eyed look is a far scarier weapon than Freddy Kruegers glove has been for a couple of decades. That Craven has pitched such a resourceful heroine with such a clever but flawed villain is a credit to his ability to create terrific tension in an otherwise pedestrian story.
The supporting actors are also fairly effective. They dont get a lot to work with but are entirely neccessary to make Lisa's plight all the more frightening. Relative newcomer Jayma Mays is great comedic value, as she has to deal with a major catastrophe and an endless amount of complaining customers. Her scene's are a welcome relief from the tension. And Brian Cox as Lisa's father and Jack Scalia as politician Charles Keefe are both terrific in roles that get just enough screentime, but dont hog the story.
Carl Ellsworth is more notable for his tv writing, having penned scripts for Xena, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and The Legend of Tarzan, but its Red Eye that gives him his break into film. For a first effort, it really isn't bad, although it does lose credibility on a few occassions. Thankfully he has a master of horror on hand to bring the bland and predictable story to life. And whilst the script is a bit staid at times, its never diabolical. Time will tell whether Ellsworth has what it takes to make it as a screen writer, but if Red Eye and his more recent foray Disturbia are a sign of things to come, then I cant imagine he'll have too much trouble selling his scripts to the studio.
In the meantime, he and Craven have produced a simple but enjoyable film that makes the very best of its leading actors and a passable script.
Summary: A taut but preditable thriller, but no less enjoyable for it