Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Red Eye (2005)

For a while, this looked like the sleeper that everyone thinks it is. What starts as a familiar look at modern travel difficulties escalates into the endgame nightmare that we all fear. It's an expression of air-travel anxiety blown up into outsize form, and it works quite well. As long as the story stays aloft, its effectiveness knows no bounds. Tense and claustrophobic, this is Wes Craven's bid to show that he can do striking Hitchcock-style suspense as well as blood-n-guts horror. Once we get on the ground, though, some other film takes over and everything goes to shit. The formerly controlled proceedings become hyperbolic (a rocket launcher? man, please), and the final hunter-hunted sequence could have come from any number of Lifetime thrillers. There's also a rather uncomfortable right-wing subtext to contend with (yay family! yay Homeland Security! boo evil ciphers who want to destroy America for no bloody reason!). What's more, the film itself doesn't seem to understand the material it deals with -- the last scene is comically, flippantly inadequate. Rachel McAdams, in a steely star-maker of a performance, nearly keeps this thing from self-destruction, but a B-movie is a B-movie is a B-movie.

Grade: C+


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