Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Very Craven Christmas III: Red Eye

Ah, this probably is my favorite Craven movie, and considering how utterly and completely nuts I am about Nightmare On Elm Street... and Scream, I suppose, that's saying something. Funny thing is that it's not really a horror movie, well, not entirely, it's more of a thriller, but  it does get into a bit of a horror/action movie mix towards the end, so it's good enough for me. Also, it's pretty damn good.
Very effective poster, I'd say.

Red Eye is the story of a hotel manager named Lisa, played by Rachel McAdams, who finds herself on a red eye flight, thus the name, sitting next a charming fellow named Jackson Rippner, played by Cillian Murphy. In many ways, it starts out like a romantic comedy of sorts, but that all comes to a close when Rippner reveals his agenda. Turns out he's working for some ill-defined group of badguys, and he's keen on having Lisa pull some strings to make an assassination attempt on a visiting VIP easier. If she refuses, Rippner is prepared to have his men assassinate her father. Also, he is dangerously psychotic and hates women. What follows is a battle of wits as Lisa tries to get herself out of trouble without condemning a man and his family, or her father, to death.

This is one of those movies that basically has one major set, inside the plane, and most of the movie's actually spent in the two seats where Rippner and Lisa are sitting. For that reason, the film is rather dialog-heavy. It doesn't suffer from it, though, the part where Lisa matches wits with Rippner is easily the most interesting part of the movie. I maintain that the reason for this is that is that the two main characters have excellent chemistry, and they're both quite impressive actors. Special props has to go to Cillian, because he pulls of the switch from "charming and helpful" to "misogynistic and psychotic" quite well, makes me think of 28 days later and the "In the house, in a heartbeat"-scene, but with woman-hating crazy instead of righteous rage-crazy.

This movie was released the same year as "flightplan," and both being thrillers set on planes with female protagonists, I suppose they might have had some kind of "dueling movies"-kind of thing going on, but in my mind, it's no contest. Flightplan wasn't horrible or anything, but it felt like it had to cheat to get the plot to work, and the tension wasn't half as great. Also, no Cillian Murphy.
Did I mention I think this guy makes the movie yet?

In the traditional understanding of horror, this movie barely qualifies, as I mentioned earlier. It's rather firmly placed on the "thriller"-side of the thriller/horror divide, but it's very suspenseful, and it's a good movie, Craven's best in many ways, and that should be good enough. It does also make it quite a natural ending point for A Very Craven Christmas, and I hope I've motivated those of you who haven't gotten around to updating yourself on Wes Craven's catalog of movies to do so, and hope you all have a good New Year.

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