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Wes Craven: The Scream Years Part 6 – Red Eye (2005)

Released in the same year as Cursed due to that movie’s troubled production schedule, Red Eye would prove to be a definitive shift into the positive from Wes Craven and is possibly one of my favourite movies of his towards the latter end of his career.
The plot itself was a simple one and Craven utilised his expertise to create a psychological thriller that would keep the audience on the edge of their seat and rest on the brilliant performances from its leads Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy, who have the lions’ share of screen time between them.

McAdams plays a hotel manager, Lisa, who will be the unsuspecting pawn at the hands of Jackson Rippner (Murphy), a terrorist with his eyes on manipulating her with aim of assasinating US Deputy Secretary of Home Security. 

Rippner initially lures Lisa in with his charming demeanour as they have a ‘chance’ encounter before boarding the red eye flight from Dallas to Miami. This appeal soon turns to revolt when his intentions come true, along with the threat on the life of Lisa’s father (Brian Cox).

From here on in, Craven puts us through the wringer as Lisa and Rippner attempt to swing the pendulum of power in their favour. Not an easy feat when the first half of the movie takes place in the small confines of an aeroplane cabin. 

This is a testament to Craven’s ability as a director to keep the plot on point, whilst wrenching up the tension with timely poise, lifting the script off the page and onto the screen seamlessly. The focus of the movie is to keep the pace moving, and to entertain for good measure and despite some critics stating that the movie takes a drastic fall towards the climax, I personally feel that it plays out well and could easily revisit the movie again and still find that same joy.

  • Saul Muerte

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Retrospective: Cursed (2005)