Red Eye

19th October 2005
Movie Poster reviewer: Chris
directed by: Wes Craven
written by: Carl Ellsworth
starring: Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy, Brian Cox
genre: Thriller
released: 2nd September 2005

It would be fair to say that since Scream 2, Wes Craven has been struggling to reach the heights which his name alone brings. His last horror effort, Cursed, was poor, and before that he decided to completely ditch his horror roots with the nauseatingly uplifting Music of the Heart (which was effectively a television movie with Meryl Streep). For his 20th feature Craven tries his hand at a psychological thriller with a great concept. Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams) is a work obsessed hotel manageress who is taken hostage by Jackson Rippner (Cillian Murphy) on the red-eye back home to Miami.

For the first hour the film lives up to its expectations on all fronts. Craven is not afraid to use a number of clichés (delayed flights, bad weather and maiden voyage for a young blonde girl) for the set up, before suddenly changing the pace and tone of the film. The pace is kept high, the natural claustrophobia of a plane is used to great effect and as the situation becomes more and more desperate for Lisa the audience is kept glued to their seats. Throw in a number of twists and the first hour is a deftly held (if not the most sophisticated) thriller. This is aided by McAdams charming performance as a far from helpless heroine (at times proving remarkable resourceful), whilst fellow lead Murphy once again proves to be a fine young British actor, showing a great ability to turn from charming suitor to a calm, unnerving villain (aided no less by his sunken cheek bones) in a matter of moments.

However, any great thriller relies on its ending, and Red-Eye, unfortunately, is horribly let down. Craven ditches the careful suspense cultivated during the first hour in favour of a more familiar horror-esque sequence as Lisa is chased round her family home by a comically injured Jackson. The tone is destroyed and for 20 minutes you are left wondering what could have been.

Red-Eye is an enjoyable, if not wholly sophisticated thriller. McAdams and Murphy do no harm to their growing reputations and Craven manages to produce some of his best work since Scream. If only the ending had been only slightly better.