Late Nights and Early Mornings

At a puny 76-minutes, Red Eye doesn’t waste time. It’s a chilling, tight, taut thriller set in a post-9/11 climate with the minimum context required. That’s okay. Red Eye’s editing trims this airline-based scenario with absolute discretion – delivering what’s essential and nothing else.

Rachel McAdams plays a heroine, but Red Eye’s simplistic characterization makes its secondary hero a rough, aggressive Homeland Security department head whose life is in danger by a crazed Cillian Murphy. Red Eye’s slim stature still leaves room for limited interpretation, just a news report suggesting Charles Keefe’s (Jack Scalia) aggressive security stance and Murphy’s Jackson Rippner’s determined assassination plot. Put those together and the script feeds on 9/11’s vengeful anger against anyone standing against the Iraq war.

Red Eye remains wholly watchable on multiple viewings

That dates Red Eye, but doesn’t lessen the overall intensity. Murphy’s gentle demeanor swiftly turns against McAdams, the latter playing a people-pleasing hotel manager who buries her own emotional (and physical) scars. Watching her break from a steadfast smile into a gritty fighter fleeing for her life makes for a satisfying arc, and with the right touch of peril alongside a feminine fire. Even if she’s still saved by a man, it’s her feisty persistence that keeps said savior alive.

Red Eye doesn’t aim to reinvent the studio genre film. With Wes Craven in the lead, hot from his genre redefining Scream, maybe that was the expectation. Instead, Craven takes pieces from the thriller’s most endearing output – including Hitchcock – and splices them into this politically-tinged affair. It works, sold by the performances and driven, again, by the no-holds-barred editing work that both ensures a smooth plotine and relentless pacing.

It’s easy to assume, during the first act anyway, Red Eye is setting up a disaster movie. Bit parts comes and go, building the roster of likable and unlikable personalities akin to a soap opera. That’s whip-smart foreshadowing, not dramatic intent. Red Eye ensures viewers know where a book, pen, and luggage are, because those matter more than the people. This only becomes obvious on repeat, and Red Eye remains wholly watchable on multiple viewings. It may lack Scream’s horror intellect, yet Red Eye is still often smarter than the audience thinks they are.


A merely so-so master comes from Paramount with this release. Red Eye skipped DVD to land on 4K so the improvement is welcome regardless. It’s reasonably crisp on UHD, softened a bit, low on hardened texture, but detail can thrive when in close. Medium shots, not as much. This isn’t poor so much as merely okay for this format. Grain resolves without any struggle.

Dolby Vision adds only the slightest spark to the color, hues flat and mundane. Flesh tones show minimal zest, and primaries lazily drift onto the screen. There’s little to note or impressive.

Likewise, contrast features a few peaks from various light sources. Black levels hit better, thick, hefty, and pure black where possible/needed.


Active and fun, surrounds fill constantly from the plane’s hum or ambient chatter. Marco Beltrami’s score sweep into the rears to rush the entire soundstage. While not Atmos, DTS-HD 5.1 suffices for this contained, tight thriller.

Like with the surrounds, the score drops low to catch the subwoofer, proving the needed range. Plane engines on takeoff produce a beefy rumble, lacking the tightness from the best audio mixes. Turbulence hits hard too, followed by a rocket launcher blast that’s fantastic.


Editor Patrick Lussier hops in for a new commentary, but only on the Blu-ray. Wes Craven then features in a retrospective piece and an In Your Own Words piece. Paramount then includes legacy features including the previous commentary including Craven, Lussier, and producer Marianne Maddalena. A generic making of, gag reel, and another Craven featurette complete this one.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Red Eye
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Tense, contained, and thrilling, Red Eye is a great watch with sharp, smart editing.

User Review
3 (3 votes)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 31 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:

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