Watcher Beware! Actually, this one is fairly clean. There’s about four curse words and one disturbingly casual misogynist statement that winds up biting back. A woman gets in position to puke, but doesn’t. There are two major puncture wounds occurring near the end, both with a fair bit of windup.

Wes Craven’s Red Eye is not immediately recognizable as his. Offering a realistic but paranoid view of plane travel, it has more in common with a really good Twilight Zone episode than something we might expect from Craven’s canon. Red Eye is spookily atmospheric and was, at the time of its release, hot-button frightening.

Hotel manager Lisa (Rachel McAdams, killing it) finds her flight home from her grandmother’s funeral delayed due to tropical storms. In between phone calls with a coworker, she meets and has a drink with Jackson (Cillian Murphy, sociopathy incarnate), whom she eventually learns is her seat partner. As the lights go down, he doubletalks about his job. As the plane goes up, they talk about her father- and he tells her about the calls she needs to make to save his life.

red-eye-2005
80+% of it looks like this.

Two quick notes about misconceptions:

1. It was my understanding that Red Eye was about hijackings; after all, it’s set on a plane in the early 2000s and makes a point to distinguish itself as a thriller. It’s much, much closer to microbudget suspense (there are maybe five sets), and there’s no out-and-out survivalist violence until the final ten minutes. Red Eye has plenty of opportunities to get topical and hamfisted, but it consistently refuses to engage.

2. I bought Red Eye because my cousin and I were talking about dumb movie deaths, and she brought up a stabbing with… well… something you can still take on a plane. Here in my home office, there are three in my immediate line of sight. I cracked up, unable to conceptualize a campier murder, and relished the idea of seeing it in the middle of something taking itself so seriously. Suffice it to say the act is ultimately nonfatal and contextually logical. I am a little disappointed, but would be more disappointed if it played out how I imagined.

Freaky? Yes. Liable to keep you up at night? Probably not. Recommended highly as a movie in general, but not as a scary one.

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