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Red-Eye: A First Class Flight of Adventure
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Wes Craven, the man responsible for reinventing the gore genre three times with “Last House On The Left,” “A Nightmare On Elm Street,” and “Scream” has piloted a less-gruesome gem towards the thriller terminal. “Red-Eye,” his only non R-Rated thriller (unless you consider Meryl Streep’s sappy “Music of the Heart” hair-raising), keeps the adrenalin racing, even without his usual violent tendencies.


Lisa, an upscale hotel manager (Rachel McAdams “The Notebook”) travels back on a red-eye flight to Miami. She meets Jackson Rippner (as in Jack the Ripper?), a charming man (Cillian Murphy, “Batman Begins”) at the airport and strikes up a friendship. She quickly discovers though that Jackson is on a terrorist mission with Lisa and her father as pawns.


Writer Carl Ellsworth, who wrote the first classic episode of television’s “Buffy, The Vampire Slayer” (season two’s “Halloween”), takes a simple story, sets it in a claustrophobic situation and fills the script with naturalistic dialogue for such an over-the-top plot.


Grounding the tale are the two leads. McAdams, the closest we have to a movie star in the near future, adds empathy to a role that could have been a typical woman-in-peril. Murphy brings a quiet menace as a man who must haunt a female in a close confinement without being noticed by a hundred neighbors. The surprise pearl in the cast is newcomer Jayma Mays as McAdams’ frazzled protégé. This pixie spirit brings humorous release to the tension.


The only qualm about “Red Eye” can not be blamed on the filmmakers, but the marketing department responsible for giving most of the film’s secrets and twists in the trailer. Though viewing the trailer hasn’t prevented me from enjoying the film, I recommend covering your eyes when the trailer runs at the Cineplex.

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