Wes Craven has been labeled since his first movies. From The Last House on the Left to the Scream trilogy and the memorable A Nightmare on Elm Street, he has proven his worth over and over and became a true master of horror.
I really doubt he gave up the genre though. He probably just still hasn’t swallowed Cursed’s bad, bad editing and its “Fisher Price” 3D werewolves and wants to stitch his reputation back together by directing something decent. Red Eye is actually more than decent…
America fears air travel these days and the movie uses that to its advantage. Once deeply involved in the action however, I must admit I almost forgot how close the movie came to reality at times. Red Eye plays its cards well enough so it doesn’t have to provoke its viewers.
Tired of stupid characters with stupid reactions to danger? Here, nobody dies of dumbness. Rachel McAdams’s character does everything she can to get out of situations that are virtually desperate. Jack Rippner (Cillian Murphy) is a manipulative, strategic and resourceful professional outlaw. Ironically, he typically thwarts Lisa’s escape plans by pure luck.
Red Eye has possibly the best quality that can be attributed to a thriller. Just like Nick of Time, a very similar movie, it holds you at the tip of your seat from start to finish. The pace and synchronization are perfect and the atmosphere is tangible. It’s every claustrophobic’s worst nightmare!
Unfortunately, Red Eye is predictable. Right from the start, it gives you one clue too many, telling you more than you need to know about what is coming up. It doesn’t reinvent the thriller as we know it either but it introduces enough new elements to be considered innovative.
Wes Craven somehow manages to make Red Eye feel like a horror movie. He really understands the feeling of vulnerability and distress a hostage could suffer in a place where time stops and where authority can’t intervene.