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</script></div>{/googleAds}Wes Craven dials down the physical violence a few notches in what is being called his first non-horror thriller. He confesses Red Eye is much more about emotional scars than flesh scars. Ever since The Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes, we've known him as the master of torn flesh, but now we can also call him a master of tattered emotions. By playing off the universally shared experience of all plane passengers, "you never know who you're going to sit next to on a plane" he creates a claustrophobic thrill ride that, for its first two acts, feels like a chilling drama from TV's Night Gallery or even something from Hitchcock himself. But most amazingly, and all filmmakers pay heed here, he does so with no special effects, a modest budget and all under 90 minutes. Hitchcock would be proud.

Ever looked at your fellow passengers as they walk down the aisles and wonder what they do for a living? The irate man who raised hell at the ticket counter could be a doctor. Or maybe that lady seated over there is a high-powered TV producer that you're supposed to recognize. Or perhaps, as is the case with hotel manager Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams), you get lucky enough to draw the seat next to the charming guy you met briefly in the airport bar. But what Lisa doesn't know is that that charming man is Jackson (don't call him Jack) Ripper (Cillian Murphy) a clandestine operative charged with forcing her to move the Homeland Security chief staying in her Miami hotel, from his usual room to one with a view of the bay front. If she refuses, the BMW parked in front of her Dad's house will produce his killer. If she makes the call, a very important political figure will die. Oh, the choices we're sometimes forced to make!

What is actually a fairly simplistic plot ripe for a television movie, is given its sense of ingenuity and immediacy by Craven's ability to utilize our own flying experiences to create tension. We see the harrowing situations the characters are placed in, but because we've all experienced the claustrophobia of cramped airline seats and stale recycled air, and because the events of 9/11 lurk just below the surface of our own psyches, we find a personal connection with Lisa's plight. We wonder what we would do in a similar situation. And McAdams and Murphy lend a refreshing persona to the heightening drama. Their wholesome good looks mask a latent dark side that they convincing call upon.

But Craven just couldn't help himself during the film's closing act. As the plot switches back to the relative safety of the ground, the action shifts towards what we've always known Craven for, and away from what we loved so much about the film's first two-thirds. It migrates into teen-slasher territory. Although devoid of craven's typical bloody mess for the most part, it disappointingly begins to more closely resemble typical studio horror fare. What was a war of minds and wills for the film's main characters is now a war of guns and knives.

I had a smirky grin on my face as I left the theater after watching Red Eye. Partly because I was surprised that Craven had stepped outside of his horror mold. But mostly because I realized he had successfully pulled it off.


DVD Details:

Screen formats: Widescreen Anamorphic 2.35:1

Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 5.1; English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo; French: Dolby Digital 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access.

* Audio Commentaries:
o With Wes Craven, producer Marianne Maddalena and Editor Patrick Lussier
* Featurettes
o The Making of Red Eye
o Wes Craven: A New Kind of Thriller
o Gag Reel
* Trailers

Number of discs: - 1 - Keepcase Packaging.