About Features Reviews Community Screenings Archives Home
August 2005

By Wilson Morales

Red Eye

Distributor: Dreamworks Pictures
Director: Wes Craven
Producers: Chris Bender, Marianne Maddalena
Cinematographer: Robert Yeoman
Composer: Marco Beltrami
Cast: Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy, Brian Cox, Jack Scalia, Colby Donaldson, and Jayma Mays
Reviewed at: Loews 34th Theater, NYC


Normally when you hear about a film directed or produced by Wes Craven, the first thing that might cross your mind is that the film is a horror film. After all, Craven is best known for "A Nightmare on Elm Street", the "Scream" trilogy and most recently, "Cursed". Although the initial trailer for his latest film, "Red Eye", showed elements of horror genre that he is very accustomed to, the film is quite the opposite. "Red Eye" is an old fashion thriller that grabs your attention for the entire length of the film. Not only is the film shorter than 90 minutes, a rarity these days for a drama, but McAdams and Murphy are very combative and appealing in their roles.

Lisa Reisert (McAdams) is a hotel manager going home on the red eye from Texas to Miami after attending the funeral for her grandmother. With her father (Cox) back home waiting for her, Lisa checks in on her staff to make sure things are running smoothly. At the airport she meets a man who seems nice while they talk by the bar and wait for their flight. Things seem too coincidental when Jack Rippner (Murphy) just happens to be seated next to her on the airplane and then his motives becomes quite clear. Seems that he's there to make sure Lisa does her job in moving Deputy of Homeland Security Charles Keefe (Scalia), a regular at her hotel, into another suite, so that his employer has a shot of killing him otherwise her father will be murdered by a man sitting in a car outside the house. With no where to go and no help on board, Lisa must do whatever she can do to outwit Rippner before he gets a chance to carry out his orders.

As with most thrillers involving assassination plots, sometime simple logic can easily make the film go faster, but with Hollywood, you have to ride it out and forget that logic exists. After playing the Scarecrow in "Batman Begins" and with this role, Murphy is playing the evildoer with ease. He has that likable feature that seems alluring, but then can turn into a menace in a split second, and he relishes the fun in playing the role. Instead of playing the scared female, McAdams does something different and fights back. The cat and mouse chase and the physical confrontations between the two leads look genuine and certainly make a case for female empowerment. This is also a departure for Craven, and it's a good one. Instead of expecting some gruesome act of violence, you get a very firm suspenseful story. There are a lot of cameos by TV veterans that take them out of the "Where are they now?" category. From Laura Johnson (Falcon Crest) to Robert Pine (CHiPs) to Survivors's Colby Donaldson, each plays their part with effectiveness. Jayna Mays is very colorful as the insecure hotel backup. While the films offer plenty of plot holes, keep in mind that logic is never a factor in this film. "Red Eye" offers a fun ride for a short period.