Red Eye (2002)
By: J.R. McNamara on January 28, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Universal (Australia). Region 2 & 4 PAL. 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1. English English (FHI) Subtitles. 81 minutes
The Movie
Director: Wes Craven
Starring: Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy, Brian Cox
Screenplay: Carl Ellsworth
Music: Marco Beltrami
Tagline: Fear Takes Flight
Country: USA
When you talk of the legendary directors of horror, the true auteur of the craft of the nasty, the name Wes Craven always comes up. Every decade since the seventies, this gentleman of the damned has given the horror fan a feast of terrible delights to digest and enjoy. Almost every horror fan has a Craven fright-fest in his top ten, from the nastiness of Last House on the Left in the seventies, to the eighties media whirlwind that surrounded A Nightmare on Elm Street, or in the nineties when he kicked the seemingly almost dead horror movement in the guts with the phenomena of the Scream series. Like all directors he has had a few misses and unfortunately, the new millennium has not been that kind to him. The downturn started with Scream 3 in 2000, which unfortunately turned a rather cool series, full of homages and tips of the hat, into a poor parody of itself. This was followed by Cursed, which was watered down at the cinema so teens could see it, but that drove away 'real' horror fans. 2005 saw the release of his thriller Red Eye, written by Carl Ellsworth (writer of Buffy and Xena episodes) and starring the beautiful Rachael McAdams (Mean Girls) and Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later), and proves that maybe Craven is more interested in a wider, mainstream audience, that the super critical genre fan.

Red Eye is the tale of Lisa Reisert (McAdams), super efficient employee of the Miami Lux Atlantic Resort, who is returning home on the late night flight from Texas after being at her Grandmother's funeral. Before the flight, she meets the mysterious but charming Jackson Ripner (Murphy) who ends up being much more that what he seems to be, and soon Lisa is involved in a plot where her life, the life of her father (Brian Cox) and political mover and shaker William Keefe (Jack Scalia) and his family are being threatened.

The story of this film seems to have come straight out of 'Thrillers for Dummies', as the audience is spoon-fed clues as to what the eventual outcome will be. Red Eye is not a bad movie, but it is light enough for it to be enjoyed by teenagers, as is evident by the casting of Murphy and McAdams in roles originally slated for Sean Penn and Robin Wright Penn. It is not really the type of material for a site like Digital Retribution, but with horror legend Craven at the helm, it should be included just out of respect to him. It is well written, directed and acted, but more for the school holiday crowd than the political thriller lover or gore hound.
It is a current super duper release film for the masses; of course the anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer is going to be excellent.
…and the above comment goes for the sound too!!
Extra Features
The Making of Red Eye (11 minutes 38 seconds) is a soft making of with quick overviews of the details of all aspects of the making of. As usual, the bigger the budget of the film, the fluffier the making of documentary is.

Wes Craven: A New Kind of Thriller (10 minutes 50 seconds) is a short feature where Wes Craven discusses his choices within the confines of the film including cast choices, marketing, and making a PG 13 film.

Gag Reel (6 minutes 29 seconds) is the usual hubbub of tomfoolery, although a lot of it is staged and not very funny. This would be the stuff that even Australia's Funniest home videos would reject.

The Director's Commentary is by director Wes Craven, Producer Marianne Maddalena and Editor Patrick Lussier. The three voices, with their respective points of view, make for an excellent commentary, with great insights into casting, editing and the entire production.

The previews section has the trailer for the Reece Witherspoon/ Mark Ruffalo vehicle Just Like Heaven, which should indicate how hardcore Red Eye is.
The Verdict
Red Eye tries far too much to be cool and Hitchcockian, but instead comes off like a poor man's Speed. This film is full of Hollywood gloss and gleam, but unfortunately it is all surface, and deep down, it is really quite shallow. Call up your grandma, your mum, and your younger sister, and ask them over to watch this with you. They will love it.
Movie Score
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