Red Eye is a slick thriller about a woman who is menaced by a mysterious stranger as she flies home. The plot is hackneyed stuff but things move along at a nifty pace, the cast are decent and director Wes Craven builds suspense skilfully to create a fairly entertaining movie.
Lisa Reisert is a hotel manager on her way home from her grandmother´s funeral. She meets the apparently charming Jackson Rippner at the check-in desk and the two strike up a conversation. Upon boarding the flight Lisa finds herself sat next to Jackson and he reveals that their meeting is not as co-incidental as it appears.
Jackson wants Lisa to do him a favour in her position as hotel manager and as motivation he threatens to have her father killed unless she does as she is told. The independent Lisa is determined not to be walked over and Jackson gets more than he bargained for as she battles to wreck his nefarious plan.
The plot has been worn thin and Red Eye is thoroughly predictable stuff right from the off. There are several familiar scenes here and no unexpected twists as the story unfolds. Wes Craven directs effectively creating an edgy and claustrophobic mood which persists throughout this tightly focused tale. The script is well-written and the pace is quite relentless, Craven puts a new slant on familiar material but still struggles to make the relatively brief 85 minutes particularly memorable.
The acting is mostly very good. Cilian Murphy continues his foray into the world of villains with the rather useless Jackson and he does carry an air of creepy malice about him which doesn´t deliver as his character turns out to be wholly ineffectual. Rachel McAdams plays Lisa, a loner with baggage and some pent up rage to unleash and she is convincing enough in the role. Her father is played by Brian Cox who is up to his usual high standard but has very little to do here.
The plot holes are almost concealed by the flash direction, quality acting and fast pacing but not quite. This is mindless entertainment pure and simple, as cliched characters play out scenes from countless movies in familiar settings. While the production values are high and the whole piece is well put together it just doesn´t offer anything out of the ordinary and it feels gimmicky.
Red Eye is tense and taut, it is even nail-biting and gripping provided you don´t think about it while you are watching. Despite the classic array of seat edge inducing tricks employed by Craven the whole thing retains an up tempo almost cheery disposition and never really threatens to deviate from the formula for this type of Hollywood thriller.
The two leads make the film very watchable and Craven injects the odd shot of note. Red Eye is quite exciting and the pace together with the short running time prevents boredom from setting in but this is still just another Hollywood thriller which is comfortably conventional and completely forgettable.