Recently, on August 14, 2005, flight 522 crashed off the coast of Greece killing all passengers on board. It was reported that the remains of the passengers were all frozen solid due to the vessel's climate control problems. I remember the reporters described the aircraft as a “flying frozen tomb on take-off.” I remember shivering despite the 90 degree weather.
Two days later, I sat in a dark, cold movie theater and watched Red Eye, director Wes (Scream) Craven's neat little psychological thriller that rides the waves of fear produced by the safety issues and hyper-vigilance of our modern day post 9/11 air-travel. Unpretentiously, the movie is devoid of any “issues,” or real substance. If you are seeking a movie with complex character formation, or dialogue that does not feel contrived, then seek it elsewhere. This movie simply wants to lift you on an adrenalin-producing, heart pounding ride by using the tight confines of an aircraft and the sense of vulnerability one feels in the knowledge of being suspended ten thousand feet above air in a cage of steel.
The premise is novel but simple: Lisa, a young hotel manager who is taking the red eye flight to Miami, meets and flirts with Jackson, a chivalrous fellow-traveler who coincidentally, is seated next to her on the plane. Without missing a beat, the roller coaster ride begins as he coolly and with comical overtones, informs her that he is an assassin and that she must cooperate in a plan to assassinate a guest at her hotel or her father will be killed before the plane lands.
Consistently, the movie maintains its breakneck speed, with riveting twists and turns engaging the audience in its plot-driven story. It pays homage to such thrillers as “Psycho,” with an almost comical flair that keeps the audience amused without alleviating any of the taut tension. The fact that most of this film takes place in the claustrophobic confines of an airplane only heightens the sense of suspense. Be ready to actually feel every gut wrenching turbulent bump and palm sweating turn of this plane ride.
As Lisa (played by the exquisitely beautiful Rachel McAdams of “The Notebook,”) cleverly finds ways to thwarts her nemesis, the movie picks up its wild speed to the ultimate crescendo, leaving a panting audience satisfied by a completely fun movie, the memory of which grows dimmer as the lights of the theater grow brighter. Enjoy the ride.