Wes Craven Week: Red Eye

You remember that time where you watched your first horror film? The shivers that were sent down your spine, the unconscious twitching of your fingers, the beads of sweat forming from anticipation, the way you hated your friend for making you watch something so scary; all of these unique feelings that are spawned from fear and great horror magic. To me, when I watched Scream for the first time I wasn’t downright terrified. It did leave me a long lasting impression on the horror genre though, I needed to see more. It was like an adrenalin rush that came from great tense atmosphere and the desire to see my favourite characters alive in the end.

Now to those who may not know, August 30, 2015, the horror world lost one of its godfathers. Wes Craven is a great mind in the horror genre spanning from slasher satires such as Scream or straight up classics like Nightmare on Elm Street. There was that hope that he would always pick up the mantle away from MTV and direct the Scream TV series. His contributions to the genre as a whole, his directing, his legacy is filled with screams, thrills, and at times laughs. That is why the week leading up to Halloween is going to be Wes Craven week for me. No anime, no different content from me, just 7 reviews of Wes Craven movies. The good or the bad, I will pay my respects and admiration to this amazing director.

Famed director Wes Craven has tackled so many different forms of the horror genre, even giving us some of the most memorable classics. That didn’t pigeonhole him into a specific niche market though as he branches out to do other things. Red Eye was Craven’s first take at a suspenseful thriller and not a clear cut horror film. This probably surprised many and it was critically acclaimed and given recognition by quite a few people. Now myself, I have two sides to this movie. The side that is suspenseful and builds up to a terrific dual performance done by both Cillian Murphy and Rachel McAdams, then you have the less than stellar finale sequence of events.

There aren’t many directors in horror who can create just a tantalizing tense atmosphere from the simplest of dialogue, and Wes Craven is one of them. The build-up is paramount to any thriller and a necessary moment to grab the audience, and the performance from these two actors was great at doing just that. The chemistry between the two and the uneasiness and tension that McAdams feels towards Murphy in several moments is just palpable on screen. There are some weird pieces of dialogue in the movie, the one’s that stuck out to me were the obvious sexist or misogynistic remarks to give rise to an obvious conclusion of a strong female ending made me sigh because of how obvious they were but all in all those were the only weak dialogue moments. Oh and her hotel assistant manager and the snooty couple were just a waste of time if I’m being perfectly honest. Just another build up to the obvious character transformation and strong woman image McAdams’ character becomes in the end. It wasn’t the most subtle transition, but it wasn’t done badly.

The scenes leading up to the plane sequence are great and built that level of uneasiness to the performance of Murphy. Then as soon as the truth is revealed it is just an intelligent race to see who would come out on top, and it was quite the interesting watch seeing McAdams scramble to find a way to defeat Murphy and his experience. It was more like a battle of wills if anything, and it’s only when one gets the upper hand where it becomes a mess. The thriller devolves from intelligent to campy chase sequences that felt almost like Scream at times. It became comical rather than intimidating and that is not how you want to portray an intense showdown.

The potential Red Eye had, was almost ruined with its ending and I felt deflated that the climax executed like it was. Not to say the cinematography and choreography of the scenes weren’t executed flawlessly, it gave a great sense of desperation to each movement. Nothing was wasted in those last sequences and we got to see a dynamic fight scene, but it wasn’t what this movie was proving itself to be. The performances and expert directing and cinematography are what makes this a somewhat memorable thriller. There are just some faults that hold the movie back from being one of the more unique thrillers.

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