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Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

Rachel McAdams
Cillian Murphy
Brian Cox.
Wes Craven.
Carl Ellsworth.
Running Time
85 minutes

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Red Eye

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Aviophobic Lisa (McAdams) is pleased to find herself seated next to handsome stranger Jackson (Murphy) on a flight to Miami. Little does she know this is no chance encounter, and Jackson has sinister motives, involving the highest levels of government, in hooking up with the pretty hotel manager...

For his 20th feature, horror legend Wes Craven took a conscious decision to leave behind the genre which has served him so well over 30 years in favour of close relative the psychological thriller, in this case transferring the tribulation and terror from suburban, picket-fenced Middle America to the edgy context of the passenger jet. It’s a neat little concept, as hotel manageress Lisa Reisert (Mean Girls' McAdams) — not a fan of flying as it is — takes the red-eye home to Miami, only to discover that crashing is the least of her worries when she finds herself effectively taken hostage by fellow passenger Jackson (Murphy), on a murderous mission of which she now finds herself an unwilling part.Tapping into and then exaggerating anxieties many of us share, Craven handles the first hour with aplomb (but no bomb), slowly building the set-up while having fun with the clichés (a young blonde child is seen boarding her first flight alone), before switching gear abruptly when Jackson proves in an instant to be far from the charming would-be suitor Lisa was hoping would distract her from the flight. As they near Miami and Lisa’s deathly dilemma becomes more desperate, Craven keeps the energy high, introducing vicious new twists at a breathless pace while increasing the claustrophobia with almost constant close-ups of the central pair (screenwriter Ellsworth cites Phone Booth as an influence). McAdams makes an engaging and admirably resourceful heroine, while a typically impressive Murphy proves he doesn’t need a sack-cloth shroud and fear serum to scare — his ice-blue eyes, cold calm and sunken cheekbones making him an alluring yet deeply unnerving villain.Still, you can take the boy out of Elm Street, but as the last 20 minutes prove, it would seem you can’t entirely take Elm Street out of the boy. As the plane lands and the action transfers to Lisa’s family home, Craven returns to the standard tropes of the genre he shaped, with little of the postmodern irony of Scream — after a (presumably unintentionally) comic injury, Murphy’s Jackson even finds himself rasping, stumbling and demonically glaring like the best horror-movie monster. Although disappointing after the superior thriller of the first 70 minutes, the audience is by now having so much fun, and Craven knows this stuff so well, happily this makes for a far from fatal flaw.

Not the most sophisticated psychological thriller, yet slick fun deftly handled by Craven and his leads.

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Average user rating for Red Eye
Empire Star Rating


Great little thriller. Terrific turn by Murphy, don't think I've ever seen a poor performance by him, and you can see that he is really enjoying himself here. McAdams is great too, her character gets a surprisingly good amount of characterisation for such a short movie. Great fun. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tysmuse at 00:01, 23 August 2009 | Report This Post

Thrilling while set on the plane ...descending into farce once they leave it! Craven's political stance in the film is also somewhat questionable ...but I'd definatley put this in the "worth a watch" category. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by SkullKassidy at 12:32, 09 February 2009 | Report This Post

Great little thriller

Suspend belief and just enjoy. Great performances and a very tense little movie. ... More

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Posted by laughingChrisCS at 11:03, 22 January 2009 | Report This Post

While towards the end it tends to get a bit silly it still remains a snappy, fun, entertaining and well acted thriller with some great direction from Craven. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by willchadwick at 11:09, 28 September 2008 | Report This Post

Red Eye

It takes a while to get into it but when it does it's BRILLIANT!!!! I loved it!!!! I certainly wouldnt mind being trapped on a plane with Cillian Murphy sitting beside me he is HOT! but anyway the film was great and i would definately buy the dvd!!! infact i already have! :D ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Chimene at 16:46, 04 May 2008 | Report This Post

underrated, Sharp-as-a-tack thriller

I liked it ... More

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Posted by blaud at 13:55, 05 March 2008 | Report This Post

a great slick thriller ... More

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Posted by moviemaniac2 at 17:42, 01 April 2007 | Report This Post

Red eye

One Star!?!? come on! i dont frequently watch thrillers bt this is good. Cillian Murphys acting is good as cruise. I only write reviews of good movies on empire. saying mcadams is fit is not part of the damn review. Dont watch this thinking it is a horror movie it is a thriller/drama that gets violent towards the end and the first 20 minutes is sweet and slightly romantic. Watch this no matter what the other reviews say. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by rockerjo at 12:32, 25 March 2007 | Report This Post

Red Eye starts with an intriguing tonal misdirection which leaves us in the realm of romantic comedy, to which McAdams' career has been geared; Murphy acquits himself unexpectedly well in these early scenes. When the film shows its true colours, Craven begins to ratchet up the suspense, and Murphy turns in a predictably creepy (and effective) performance. The real surprise is McAdams, who gives a career best performance that is as moving as it is lacking in melodrama. The film isn't comple... More

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Posted by Southall Sissoko at 16:05, 07 February 2007 | Report This Post

This is Director Wes Craven (Nightmare On Elm St, People Under The Stairs, Serpent And The Rainbow) 20th film, and a very enjoyable little thriller it is too. Hotel manageress Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams) is flying home to Miami when she is 'taken hostage' by a sinister passenger Jackson (Cillian Murphy), if she doesn't follow his orders her father who awaits her will be murdered.The film moves along briskly throughout its short running time, with leads McAdams and Murphy more than up to th... More

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Posted by George Vader at 13:48, 18 October 2006 | Report This Post

sore eye

Was it wrong of me to be cheering on the bad guys?! Maybe it's just me but I found this film to be, well, boring. It was redundant of suspense and the numerous implausabilities throughout the movie just reinforced my lack of interest in this film. ... More

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Posted by BarryNorman at 00:24, 22 July 2006 | Report This Post

Truly Woeful

Watched this on DVD the other night with my girlfriend by the end we were both in fits of laughter as Murphy hobbled round mcadams house trying to kill her. it's just not scary or clever, and every opportunity to up the ante is wasted. the fact that at no point is it explained why murphy is trying to kill his target is a good indication of the intelligence level of the film. The extras explain a lot as craven misses no opportunity to explain how wonderful he was in every aspect of his job ... More

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Posted by paulc8 at 09:16, 04 April 2006 | Report This Post

Pretty slick but-

Wes Craven's Red Eye is a pretty slick and cool thriller, mostly because Cillian Murphy does a pretty good performance, but there's also a kind of stylish plot. Though Red Eye has got some flaws, there are things that doesn't work the way they could have done - it isn't very thrilling and the overall look seems a bit un-professional and hasted. As said earlier, Murphy makes his performance well, being a twisted and offensive bad-guy who doesn't let our girl breath peacefully for a second. And th... More

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Posted by Eastern Cowboy at 21:34, 27 March 2006 | Report This Post

Red Eye at Night, Pile of Sh**e....

Once the ending credits appeared on the screen, I felt like I had just waited 90 minutes or so of my life that will never return. Admittedly I can be a bit picky when it comes to films, but how a hotel receptionist can suddenly outsmart an assassin, stab someone in the neck, run off a plane and leave an airport and steal a car without being stopped by Police, I have nooooo idea! What a load of absolute rubbish! Do NOT waist your time and money on this pile of escrement. ... More

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Posted by mmills at 09:54, 24 March 2006 | Report This Post

Red eye scores high

Great thriller with some tense moments. Brilliant acting. Probably McAdams best performance yet. ... More

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Posted by premierbaron at 18:34, 15 March 2006 | Report This Post

RE: Craven's Still Got it

3"]    3"]From legendary horror director Wes Craven (Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes, Scream) comes "Red Eye" the latest in a string of sub-standard pictures from one of the real greats of his genre. What starts out as a really promising psychological thriller soon descends into a conventional cat and mouse chase which really doesn't succeed on any level at all. It seems his generation of directors, of which Carpenter is the other n... More

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Posted by Hamish at 16:25, 12 March 2006 | Report This Post

Craven's Still Got it

Red Eye is most definitely one of the few sleeper hits of 2005. A good simple plot, decent cast and varied action sequences makes for a truly exciting film experience. Admittedly the film does lose pace when the plane lands and the end is creepily reminiscent to the beginning of Cravens other hit, Scream, but is still entertaining. When the plane is in the air and the always impressive Cillian Murphy turns from charming to chilling the film is undoubtedly at its paramount. Plus the always great ... More

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Posted by coolrex16 at 23:21, 08 March 2006 | Report This Post

Red Eye

Yeh not bad, 85 minutes of entertainment. Popcorn flick, nothing to last in the memory but passed the time wll. Rachel McAdams is as fit as. ... More

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Posted by rpoys1977 at 20:30, 03 February 2006 | Report This Post

RE: Where's the rest?

]Two reasons why this film really sucked, and it may seem like I'm being pedantic but there is no movie otherwise ]  ]1. The pen in the throat - Without that precision there was no more movie as Murphy could have talked to his colleague, Dad dead. So I assume she meant it. Are we to believe that McAdams got Ninja-intense like training after her experiences - Fuck off ]  ]2. Moving the politicians hotel room - the basis of the movie, why Murphy was being such an erse ... More

Posted by SalemsLot at 17:16, 12 January 2006 | Report This Post

Where's the rest?

Great opening hour let down by a predictable final reel that doesn't even bother to throw in any twists. Thank god for McAdams and Murphy who are brilliant. For once a movie that fails for being too short (Brian Cox you sleepwalked through this film). ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Caster at 02:12, 12 January 2006 | Report This Post

Red eye

I quite liked this one, actually. Some people say it was shite, but I think otherwise. One of my friends seemed scared (had to lend her my jacket), but it was one of Craven's better pictures ... More

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Posted by zip ginger at 11:19, 11 January 2006 | Report This Post

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