While it doesn’t feature any supernatural oddities, freaks of nature, or general movie critters, Red Eye is purely a Wes Craven movie. Settling on a tight, closely wound set of three main actors, this “bad situation that’s going to get worse” thriller is gripping, even when succumbing to a few annoying clichés. It’s a superb example of how a simple idea turns into massive entertainment.
Rachel McAdams leads a small cast on a giant airliner; trapped inside an assassination plot she has only a minor role in. The film winds itself around a simple phone call, one that ends up taking a little too long to get to given the brief running time. It becomes a frustrating struggle for the viewer where you’re screaming at the screen for the characters to do the intelligent thing for once.
For the most part, McAdam’s character Lisa pulls this off. Things outside of her control on the plane usually foil her escape attempts. Once it lands, it begins to degrade into a generic chase involving the usual clichés. Dying cell phone batteries or low signals, falling down as the enemy draws closer, the gun laying exactly in the right spot, and of course running upstairs instead of outside to get help all play a role here.
Red Eye’s script is smart enough to inject some humor at the right moments to make sure the audience knows not to take this too seriously. Its opening is played for almost total comedy while providing the wonderfully done foreshadowing. The tone takes a rapid turn towards tension from there, and never lets up.
Rapid is the right word here, too. At under 90-minutes, there’s no time for side plots. Everything that happens in this movie happens for a reason, no matter how minute it may seem. It all comes together in the finale to put a near perfect cap on Red Eye. You’ll have a great time here. (**** out of *****)
With the low resolution of the UMD format, it’s stunning to see the amount of detail that clearly makes it onto the screen. Closeups are incredible, showcasing a level detail you’d be surprised to know the PSP can handle. The clarity and color add to this small little wonder. The only complaint comes with the territory: the black levels that never stay consistent. (****)
Audio is then a massive disappointment. While there’s a constant use of the directional stereo channels, the bass is awful. Not only is it overpowering, it’s scratchy and rough. This is true of both headphones and the PSP itself, even when the volume is low. Dialogue is hard to make out, which is sadly true for a few key lines. (**)
None of the DVD extras made it over. (No stars)
Red Eye is proof movie marketing stinks. The key point of the film that creates the admittedly predictable twist is plastered all over the box, ruining the build up. When you let the audience know where this is headed, it makes you wonder why the writers bothered in the first place.