As stated in one of my earlier posts, Wes Craven was one of my favourite directors. Upon hearing of his passing in 2015, Red Eye was the film I chose to watch that evening. Craven’s output in the 2000’s was rather sketchy, when compared to his earlier work. An unnecessary Scream sequel in 2000. 2005’s pretty lackluster werewolf movie, Cursed. And a slightly bizarre segment in 2006’s Paris, je t’aime. Admittedly Paris, je taime was an enjoyable film, if not, structurally, all over the place. His two films book-ending the decade: 1999’s Music of the Heart and 2010’s My Soul to Take were, in the case of the former, not seen by anyone and, in the case of the latter, horribly received by fans and critics.
Therefore, audiences expectations of Wes Craven during this period were quite justifiably scaled down.
All reservations aside, Red Eye is a fantastically gripping B-Movie thriller. The film has one of my favourite kinds of plot contrivances, whereby the lead characters are confined to one space for the majority of the film. In this case an airport and a plane are the locations. The final act plays out in a residential home, reminiscent of Craven’s earlier works such as Scream and A Nightmare on Elm Street.
The two leads are excellent. Cillian Murphy’s ability to switch between charming and lovable and frighteningly sinister is masterful. And Rachel McAdams took a break from her lighthearted comedy roles and turned in one of the finest performances of her career.
Ripe with suspense, horror, intrigue and a twisting and turning plot, Red Eye is a definite highlight from Craven’s forty years as a writer / director. Stripping away all the gore, the supernatural, the fantastical and the obscene on which Wes Craven had built his career, the film is a character driven thriller that is just excellent cinema.