Red Eye (2005)

Genre(s): Drama / Thriller
DreamWorks || PG13 - 85 minutes - $19.99 || January 10, 2006
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2006-08-14

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: Wes Craven
Writer(s): Carl Ellsworth (story) & Dan Foos (story), Carl Ellsworth (screenplay)
Cast: Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy, Brian Cox

Theatrical Release Date: August 19, 2005

Supplemental Material:
  • Filmmaker Commentary
  • The Making of Red Eye
  • Wes Craven: A New Kind of Thriller
  • Gag Reel
  • Previews

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.


Plot Synopsis (from DVD back cover): An overnight flight to Miami quickly becomes a battle for survival when Lisa (McAdams) realizes her seatmate plans to use her as part of a chilling assassination plot. As the miles tick by, she’s in a race against time to warn the potential victims before it’s too late.

Red Eye is a highly tense-filled thriller that shows director Wes Craven hasn’t lost his touch after so many failures. Everything from the casting of rising stars Rachel McAdams (Mean Girls, The Notebook) to Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins, 28 Days) works in a plot that, quite frankly at best, was flimsy. So, with two actors playing their parts so well, in combination with a director known mainly for horror, now taking showcasing his talent for the suspense/thriller, in the end, Red Eye is a good movie made better due to the cast and director.

The biggest reason I feel the screenplay was off-kilter, was due to its short runtime at a mere 85-minutes (closer to 80 without end credits). Thing about it is, I believe that runtime is probably best rather than dragging it out an extra 10-minutes just to make it look longer, meanwhile, the movie as a whole suffers.

Red Eye is one of those movies I own just for that time when I don’t feel like thinking and just want to have a good time. Plus, anything with Rachel McAdams is worth watching no matter what.

You can read Mr. White’s review (which I primarily agree with) here:

What is entertaining and successful about Red-Eye is not its eye busting special effects. In fact, this film is one of the lower budgeted big releases this summer and, in fact, contains very few special effects. And, unlike other recent “scary” films, this one does not crutch itself against standard surprise endings or gory murders. Rather, Wes Craven’s new film plays like a modern twist on the great De Palma suspense pictures - cheaply done, but successfully Hitchcockian.

The film’s main strength is its ability to place itself completely in a post 9/11 context, without ever exploiting it. Now that we’re hearing about Nic Cage saving lives in the World Trade Center (no doubt with a McDonalds tie-in) come next summer, its interesting to see films like Red-Eye (and The Village) deal with the issues of being in this modern world and how that relates (and changes) the way movie audiences deal with fear. Here Rachel McAdams plays a self-reliant young woman working at a high class Miami hotel; she is a trusted employee known for solving problems, impressing important cliental with her professional attitude and having a limited social life. On the eve of a Homeland Security deputy arriving at the hotel, the hot Rachel McAdams must take leave to watch her grandmother buried. It is here the fun and delight begins!

Taking a “Red Eye” flight... heh heh... the busty, Meg Ryan-like Rachel McAdams begins to be hit on by a creepy, overly nice (but presumably harmless) Cillian Murphy. Well... as you might suspect… this thing goes Collateral on us from that moment on... except on a plane. Cillian Murphy, whose first name I have no idea how to pronounce (it seems like some sort of insect or Star Trek villain) has the potential to be a great modern villain, along the lines of Gary Oldman or Alan Rickman. He is a Calvin Klein model gone berserk here, with half the brain to boot. Could Hollywood make these “trained killers” any dumber?

Rachel McAdams’ character is a superb female role model - a former victim turned heroine, reliving her violent past/abusive relationships as a means to deal with her psychopathic airborne captor. The character development is, obviously, minimal, yet the deliciously erotic McAdams is given the material to sufficiently justify just HOW exactly her gung ho character is able to spar with a trained—if somewhat dimwitted—stalker.

By no means an Oscar contender, Red-Eye is a suspense thriller that relies on psychology more than shock value and entertains its audience throughout its short running frame. Campy and self-aware, Red-Eye is packaged on two strong performances from its leads and a premise that does not spit blood or ensure a magical ending where it turns out the lead character had secretly been dead the entire time after suffering a fatal UFO attack in the backwoods of 1890’s Pennsylvania. Or did I just give something away?


Despite a better than expected box office run of $58m (after a $16m opening), it was a little disappointing those at DreamWorks didn’t provide much substance to their special features. Even though the two leads are busy people, it would’ve been interesting to have a commentary (or just scene specific) together.

Filmmaker Commentary - Director Wes Craven is joined by producer Marianne Maddelena and Editor Patrick Lussier. The track is semi-lively and with three of them in there, they have enough stories to share to keep it going. But, as I mentioned before, adding either of the leads would’ve been a welcome addition.

The Making of Red Eye (11:36) - A basic making-of featurette filled with sound bites from cast and crew with little to know real valuable information other than to actually see the movie you either just rented or bought.

Wes Craven: A New Kind of Thriller (10:50) - This delves a little deeper into how the film got made and how, after a grueling shoot on the aptly named Cursed, Wes Craven was set to take some time off until he received a screenplay from newcomer Carl Ellsworth. Craven himself discusses how he came to cast each part and why (this includes the parts of the angry customers).

Gag Reel (6:27) - Not particularly hilarious, but it does feature the usual flubbed lines and unusual ad-libs. Sprinkled in, Wes Craven has a few scenes sitting on a bench working on some kind of word puzzle. It does end on a funny note with a rendition of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” as the plane hits some turbulence.

The rest of the disc is just some previews for DreamWorks projects like Just Like Heaven and The Island.



The film comes with your standard Dolby Digital 5.1, which sounds just fine and with only one real action moment, it serves its purpose. You can also use the 2.0 mix if you don’t have a surround sound system.

Red Eye is presented in anamorphic widescreen, 2.40 aspect ratio and looks like any recent release should. Nothing really stands out per se outside the use of the bright Miami colors near the end, but Wes Craven does a good job providing a tense atmosphere.


Red Eye is not a movie you’ll get anything out of except good old entertainment value. Some of the plot is contrived: cell phone that goes dead just at the wrong, or right, moment, but with McAdams and Murphy, you care more about them than the plot, which in this case, is perfect.