red_eyerating-4.0Part Hitchcock thriller, part typical "girl in trouble" slasher film, this is a fairly taut tale of woman forced by fear of peril to do something for a dark stranger who threatens her father...

Adding a touch of political intrigue to the mix, Red Eye manages to deliver both a film that is somewhat different for Wes Craven and a movie, though to a certain degree rote, that manages to offer fast-paced and not absurdly dramatic thrills.

Rachel McAdams, the hot actress du jour, stars as a young hotel manager on the way home from a funeral who, after several chance encounters with a dark and charming stranger played by the excellent Cillian Murphy, is seated next to him on a plane. A simple flight quickly turns to danger as they get off the ground and Murphy reveals that her father will be killed if she doesn't move a high-power politico to another, more easily attacked room in her hotel.

There is the inevitable tense back and forth and McAdams holds up her end well as a strong but unsure woman balancing her fear of her father's imminent death with her desire not to see others dead by her hand. Murphy does his normally blistering job of acting with sharp smiles and glaring eyes, a fire that's shown in his performances in Batman Begins and particularly his career-making role in 28 Days Later.

Jayma Mays and Brian Cox do an excellent job rounding out the cast, adding the weight and charm of their performances to the mix and keeping the film very solid.

Craven shows his first bit of inventive and fresh direction in many years and the clean simplicity of this movie blows away most of his more popular films, not to mention keeping him well within the bounds of a conventional thriller instead of outright horror.

All things considered, the movie is drastically better than I would imagined and reigns in the annoyances of such a thriller. The fact that the writer went on to pen Disturbia might mean that the film may be less horrible than it appears (though maybe not).

At very least, it's a victory for Craven, whose career leaves much to be desired these days.

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