I get the feeling we may be on the verge of new run of aircraft-related movies, what with Flightplan getting a release so soon after Red Eye. I’m sure the filmmakers were racing to get their film to the big screen first, and (in Australia at least) it seems that Red Eye has won.
Wes Craven’s newest feature is in many ways both a success and a disappointment. He was probably at the top of his game in 1996 with Scream, but Red Eye proves that he’s still got the goods, even if there is a definite feeling of déjà vu.
Red Eye is most definitely a thriller, and not a horror, a fact that was arguably misrepresented (or at least partially obscured) in the original teaser that I saw on the internet some time ago. That particular trailer was brilliant: gave away very little yet packed a punch unlike any preview I’d seen in years. Unfortunately that was followed by a more conventional second trailer and TV spots closer to the release date. By more ‘conventional’, I mean they ruined the film (in a way that only Hollywood can). Even though I screwed my eyes and ears shut after the first 30 seconds of that dastardly trailer, I still had lots of surprises ruined thanks to marketing departments that only care if we buy our ticket, as opposed to whether or not we actually enjoy the film.
Craven (Cursed) still knows which buttons to press. The film moves along at a cracking pace, and always made the right decision whenever the narrative came to a crossroad. The lessons learnt from the Scream saga are still here: not once did our heroine do something stupid that had the audience groaning with frustration. The only disappointment was that Rachel McAdams’ (Wedding Crashers) Lisa was almost a carbon copy of Neve Campbell’s Sidney in the original Scream. It made me wonder if Craven has a leading lady fixation alá Alfred Hitchcock, so similar were their backgrounds, motivations, and even hair colour. Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins) is a brilliant villain, positively reeking of debonaire malice – every moment he is on screen is a treat. The supporting cast is less exciting, with Brian Cox fooling nobody with his hair dye.
If the second half had been as good as the set-up then Red Eye could have been fantastic. Instead it’s merely accomplished, and thankfully a long way from being overblown with a running time of 85 minutes.Rating: