Review by Gordon Justesen
Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy, Brian Cox
Director: Wes Craven
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround, French Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1
Features: See Review
Length: 85 Minutes
Release Date: January 10, 2006
Dad a favor and STOP GAMBLING WITH HIS LIFE.”
When you hear the
name Wes Craven, you are more than likely to associate it with the horror genre.
After all, Craven was nothing short of an innovator. His first film, 1972’s Last
House on the Left, is still one of the most terrifying films ever made, and
he’s managed to make two of the genre’s most popular films, A
Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream.
Eye, Craven gets to shy away from the extremes of the horror genre and
indulge in the psychological thriller. The result a relentless nail-biter that
produces more jolts in an 85 minute running time than most do in two hours.
It’s something the likes of Alfred Hitchcock would be proud of, and who better
than Craven to channel a filmmaker such as Hitchcock?
Craven mixes in
elements of a great popcorn thriller with a touch of political intrigue. As the
movie opens, hotel manager Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams) is trying to make her
flight from Texas to Florida. Thanks to extreme weather issues, the flight is
delayed. With no other option, she grabs a seat on the next red eye flight to
Miami, where she can be there for her recently deceased Grandmother’s funeral.
While stuck at the
airport, she meets a charming stranger named Jackson Ripner (Cillian Murphy). He
jumps to her defense during an argument with an unruly delayed passenger, and
the two seem to cross each others path while stranded at the airport. They enjoy
a cocktail and share a good conversation until time to board the plane.
Much to Lisa’s
surprise, she finds the same charmer seated right next to her on the new flight.
By this point, Lisa might be considering the possibilities of fate concerning
this new man in her life. But we soon learn, as the plane is in the air, that
nothing could be further from the truth. Jackson has crossed her path for a
reason, and not a good one.
It turns out,
Jackson is a representative of a sinister shadow group that specializes in
political assassinations. He needs Lisa’s full cooperation in the assistance
of offing a political figure. If she doesn’t, he’ll have her father (Brian
Cox) killed with nothing more than a phone call.
What follows is a
subtle game of cat and mouse, as Lisa attempts to do whatever she can to thwart
the situation. But Jackson, a creeping menace, isn’t too easy to fool. By a
certain point, it seems as though she will have no choice but to go through with
her captor’s demands.
execution of this material couldn’t be more riveting. From minute one, Red
Eye has you hooked and it doesn’t dare to let go until the end. Once the
plane is in the air, and Lisa realizes what she’s involved with, the intensity
only grows further.
revealing what happens, the final 30 minutes of the movie is, without question,
one of the most heart-thumping, pulse-pounding moments of suspense ever to be
shown in a single movie. Every once in a while, you shouldn’t let a PG-13
rating fool you. Craven pushes the rating to its limits with some serious white
The movie serves as
a huge door opening for its two stars on the rise. This is Rachel McAdams’
first headlining role in the wake of strong supporting work in Mean
Girls and Wedding Crashers. She is something of a knockout, in more ways than
one. You believe her in the role at a hundred percent, especially when during
the physical demanding final act. In short, McAdams has solidified herself as a
prominent leading lady.
And Cillian Murphy,
hot off his sinister supporting role in Batman
Begins, turns in yet another memorable sinister performance. Murphy delivers
in the role that James Spader may have played in the late 80s, early 90s. The
dual act of being the suave charmer and diabolical creep is something Murphy
pulls off seamlessly. And trust me when I say that he will still be haunting you
way after the movie, thanks to an added Craven touch his character is given in
Though it may stand
out a bit on Wes Craven’s resume, Red
Eye is quite simply one of the director’s finest achievements to date.
It’s not a horror movie, but Craven uses style, pacing, and even a touch of
claustrophobia to create a feeling of true cinematic suspense. Just as he did
the horror genre, Craven has mastered the genre of suspense with this tight
another top flight looking disc with this marvelous presentation. The anamorphic
picture is nothing but sharp and crisp quality. A great deal of the movie takes
place in a plane cabin with limited lighting, and still this presentation makes
the most of it with a picture resonating in nothing but high clarity. The
sequences in and around the plane result in amazing image detail and display of
colors. A first rate presentation! A full screen version is available
separately, but you shouldn’t even bother with it as you will definitely lose
a great deal of visual impact.
Sound is a key
element in a thriller, and Dreamworks took big notice of that with this stunning
5.1 mix. Everything from Marco Beltrami’s brilliantly thrilling score, to the
various set pieces (including even that of the plane cabin) allow for some
outstanding moments of surround sound and dynamic range. And when the last half
hour of the movie kicks in, your sound system will deliver the ultimate goods.
Incredible all the way.
Some nice extras,
starting off with a commentary from Wes Craven, which is a very fine and
informative listen. Also featured are well handled featurettes; “Making a
Thriller at 30, 000 Feet: The Making of Red Eye” and “Wes Craven: The Master
of Suspense”, as well as a gag reel and bonus previews.