Red Eye

Red Eye (2005)
Dreamworks Home Entertainment
Cast: Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy, Brian Cox, Jayma Mays
Extras: Audio Commentary, Featurettes, Gag Reel, Previews

Vulnerability of the mind as opposed to vulnerability of the body as witnessed in a typical slasher-style horror flick is just what Wes Craven serves up in his new thriller "Red Eye." Cautiously approaching this film with bated breath to see if this film will hold up better than some of Craven's latest fare, which hasn't truly lived up to his "Horror Master" level, I soon realized that I was in for a tension packed 85 minute thrill-fest that grabs hold of the viewers attention and doesn't let go until the end credits begin to roll. Needless to say I was rather impressed with Wes Craven's new thriller "Red Eye, " given that most of the offerings from the thriller genre as of late have failed miserably to spark any imagination whatsoever; this is where "Red Eye" separates itself from the pack.

Leaving Dallas after attending a funeral for her grandmother, Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams) prepares to board the "Red Eye" flight back to Miami, where she manages a five star resort hotel. While waiting out a delay in her departure time, Lisa strikes up an acquaintance in fellow traveler Jackson Rippner (Cillian Murphy), joining him for drinks at the airport bar. Once on-board the plane, the two cross paths once again as they are seated beside one another.

Thinking that Jackson is simply a friendly stranger, he quickly reveals his dark side by attempting to involve Lisa in an assassination attempt. Jackson informs Lisa that she must cooperate with the plot to murder a Homeland Security official and his family that are staying at her hotel, by switching their accommodation to a specific room, one that places them as easier targets for the assassins. When a visibly shaken Lisa denies Jackson's request, he informs her that she must comply with his demands; otherwise her father will be murdered as Jackson has one of his hit men stationed outside his home. Quite the scenario faces Lisa in her attempts to save both her fathers life, as well as the lives of the government official and his family, while confined to an economy seat some 35,000 feet in the air. Wes Craven produces a thrill packed film that presents the tensely fused story from writer Carl Ellsworth (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) that is sure to deliver a jolt of excitement. With the ever impressive Cillian Murphy turning in another villainous role that adds just the right amount of creepiness to the story's delivery.

DreamWorks Home Entertainment has put together a great presentation of "Red Eye" on DVD. With a transfer that exhibits good color saturation to provide natural flesh tones, while maintaining the balance between vibrant Miami backdrops to the rather sterile surroundings of the airplanes interior. Black levels are rich and deep showcasing the tiniest of details offered throughout the film. I did not discover any noticeably distracting dust or dirt particles or any issues pertaining to compression artifacts, just a visually pleasing exhibition.

The well mixed Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack provides ample use of deep bass at just the right moments, enhancing the tension packed scenes. Dialogue reproduction appears natural in presentation, never straying from the center channel. The final mix is sure to please as all available channels are appropriately used to their full extent, leaving the viewer with a great sonic performance.

A nice selection of extras await in the special features section, beginning with an audio commentary from director Wes Craven, producer Marianne Maddalena and editor Patrick Lussier. There are also two shorter behind-the-scenes featurettes that manage to provide you with some good insight, given their minimal running times. The first is simply titled "The Making of Red Eye" that offers simple interviews of various cast and crew interlaced with footage from the film. I enjoyed the second featurette titled "Wes Craven: A New Kind of Thriller." Here the director mentions the fact that he had planned to take a year off after shooting "Cursed," but after reading the script for "Red Eye", he knew that this would be a good project for him to tackle as it affords him the opportunity to produce a solid thriller, void of his usual use of gore filled scenes.

For a shorter film, I was sure that there would be the presence of at least a couple deleted scenes available for exploration; instead we get a Gag Reel that does offer a few funny clips filmed during production and a selection of previews.

Fans of Wes Craven should rejoice his return to top form with his latest endeavor "Red Eye". Although this film is a thriller and not a horror film of "Nightmare on Elm Street" caliber, this one is sure to please fans of both the director as well as those looking for a good entertaining action packed thrill!