The Good

A very well crafted thriller that keeps changing as it goes along.

The Bad

Towards the very end I think this movie starts to lose something.

I knew from the trailers that I was going to like the movie Red Eye. I just had this feeling that something about the movie was going to be good. I think Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy are both very good actors, and having Wes Craven in the mix really upped the stakes of this psychological thriller. Also, in this Post 9/11 environment, I think the people involved with bringing this film to the big screen are very brave for making a “scary” movie on an airplane.

McAdams plays Lisa Reisert. A hotel manager who has no time to have a life. She finds herself sitting next to Jackson Rippner (Murphy) on an airplane and it seems like she may have actually found something of a soulmate. In fact, I started hoping they might end up together. Jackson however has much different ideas. He needs McAdams to make a room in her hotel available so that some people can assassinate a politician. As it turns out, there is nothing coincidental about their meeting and Jackson knows much more about Lisa than she thinks he does. The film quickly turns into a game of cat and mouse and while at the very end I think things go a bit overboard, ultimately that’s not enough to sink this movie.

Features

Gag Reel

Filled with mess-ups, retakes and all manner of flubs this gag reel is really good because it keeps going to back to the same mistakes. Essentially, once someone messes up, they will move on and come back to them at a later point. I also noticed that a lot of the mistakes shown don’t even feature the main stars.

Making of a Thriller at 30,000 FT{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}This is actually a pretty in-depth “making of” piece. It starts from the ground up with people like Wes Craven and screenwriter Carl Ellsworth talking about how this movie went from being an idea to being “in” production. They also talk about how this movie is different than a typical thriller because it mostly focuses on two actors. We are then shown the plane that was built as a set for them to shoot on, some of the FX and they even analyze the bathroom scene between McAdams and Murphy’s characters.{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}Wes Craven: A New Kind of Thriller

This is a featurette in which Wes Craven talks about wanting to move into different kinds of films. Chances are he won’t totally abandon the horror genre because there’s just too much money in it for him, but he makes it clear that he did see Red Eye as a departure from his other films. We also get to hear from the creative participants in this movie and eventually this segment becomes a “Wes Craven Love In.”

Audio Commentary

This track features Wes Craven, the films producer Marianne Maddelena and the editor Patrick Lussier. Okay, Craven has always come off to me as a quiet sort, so having him be the buffer and lead the conversation with these other people is a bit awkward. Quite frankly, I think this whole commentary would have worked better if he had done it alone. However, Lussier and Craven do offer the keenest insights out of the three, and it is somewhat fun seeing Craven step out of his comfort zone and be the ring leader.

Video

Theatrical Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 - Enhanced for Widescreen TVs. I love Wes Craven movies because no matter what they look big. They seem enhanced in some way. However, despite how great the images look, he doesn’t fill his movies with needless music video FX that usually undermine the story. While there is nothing that amazing about Red Eye, it is edited in such a way that it could easily be watched again and again.

Audio

English and French Dolby Digital 5.1 - English Dolby Digital 2.0 - Captioned in English - Subtitled in English, Spanish and French. They discuss this a bit in the commentary but I really appreciated their nonuse of music. Sure it’s in there and it underscores certain scenes a bit, but this movie is more dialogue driven than anything else. A threat by Jackson Rippner does much more to instill fear in me, than some contrived scary moment in many of today’s horror films. While there certainly is a “soundtrack” to this film it works best when it is seen but not heard.

Package

The front cover here is one of the one sheets they used when this movie played theatrically. It has Rippner’s hand on Lisa’s wrist as they sit in their seats. The back cover features 3 shots from the film, a critic’s quote, a description of the movie, a “Special Features” listing, a cast list and some technical specs. All in all, nothing too special but I think that this is one of those films that doesn’t need much help.

Final Word

They touch on this a bit in the “Special Features” but this movie is really a character driven thriller. It essentially stars two people. As I keep on saying, it is only at the end that I think this movie becomes somewhat conventional. However, everything being equal, I think all the players involved did their best to make this film something a little different than your garden variety, “woman in jeopardy” thriller. Also, Rachel McAdams seems like the kind of actress that doesn’t really get inside her own head too much. She just takes the roles, puts herself in it a little bit and then lets the characterization take over.

All in all, Red Eye shows us yet again that while he may be “the master of horror,” Wes Craven certainly has many tricks up his dark sleeve.

Red Eye was released August 4, 2005.