Red Eye


Directed by: Wes Craven
Written by:Carl Ellsworth, Dan Foos
Starring: Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy, Brian Cox, Jayma Mays, Laura Johnson
Released: September 1, 2005
Grade: B

Every couple of months, there’s a new hot male or female who is being touted as Hollywood’s latest star.  Their faces are splashed across magazine covers, fan clubs appear everywhere on the internet and you can’t go a week without hearing their name in some context.  That is until… the next hot thing comes along.  Not long after, you will forget they even exist.  Such is life and such is our fickle admiration for movie stars.  We love new stars but when they saturate the media, we tire quickly and look for something else to leach onto.

In ten years time I may have egg on my face but I declare that Canadian-born Rachel McAdams will get past this hurdle and will become a long-term starlet of the screen.  She created a huge buzz in Wedding Crashers but showed she’s not just a pretty face with great performances in The Notebook and Mean Girls.  I see talent and I really hope she does make the right script choices to keep her career on track.

Truth be told, Red Eye isn’t the greatest of films.  For Rachel McAdams though, it’s the chance to try the thriller genre for the first time.  To call the screenplay formulaic is an understatement.  There’s enough substance to keep you awake but not a single thrill comes as a surprise.  It’s like so many thrillers of late – trying too hard with too many plot twists.  Simple is best.

The story sees Lisa (McAdams) on board an airplane.  Sitting next to her is Jackson Rippner (Murphy), a young guy who seems friendly.  When the plane takes off however, Jackson shows his true colours.  He is part of a terrorist unit who plans to assassinate a high-profile guest at the hotel at which Lisa works.  They will kill Lisa’s father if she does not call the hotel office and use her sway as manager to have this guest transferred to a different room.  You see, the different room has a view of the ocean which gives the terrorists a perfect shot from their boat.

She’s terrified at first and through her tears, struggles to put a sentence together.  She then puts her thinking cap on and tries to find away out of this.  Lisa doesn’t want her father to die but doesn’t want to sacrifice the guest and his family to do so.  Does she manage to pull it off with a number of close shaves and a great sense of timing?  I’ll leave it to your own imagination from here.

Red Eye is directed by horror maestro Wes Craven (Scream, A Nightmare On Elm Street).  Few directors have as much experience in the genre and you’ll see it on show here.  The climax looks great as the camera moves around the house showing us only what he wants us to see.  You know something is going to happen but the camera teases us by making us wait and throwing in the occasional “red herring”.  It’s not a new technique but Craven has a near-perfect sense of timing.

Not a memorable film but all you need remember is the name Rachel McAdams.