The Daily Stream: Red Eye Is A Sturdy, Solid Thriller From The Late, Great Wes Craven

(Welcome to The Daily Stream, an ongoing series in which the /Film team shares what they've been watching, why it's worth checking out, and where you can stream it.)

The Movie: "Red Eye"

Where You Can Stream It: Hulu

The Pitch: Hotel manager Lisa (Rachel McAdams) is afraid of flying, but she has to catch a red-eye flight back home following a funeral. Her fears of flying are somewhat assuaged when she meets a very handsome, very charming fellow traveler – who just happens to have the amazing name of Jackson Rippner (played by Cillian Murphy and his beautiful eyes). Lisa and Jackson end up sitting together on the plane, and all goes well – at first. But then Jackson reveals he's an assassin who has an accomplice parked outside of the home of Lisa's dad (Brian Cox). Lisa has to use her connections at her hotel to help set up the assassination of a guest who happens to be the United States Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security – or else her father will be killed. Can Lisa get away from Jackson, get off the plane, and save both her dad and the Homeland Security Secretary?! 

Why It's Essential Viewing

When "Red Eye" was cleared for takeoff in 2005, I was interested. After all, it was a new film from horror legend Wes Craven, and I'm a horror fan. But when I saw the film I came away rather indifferent. I didn't think the film was bad, mind you. It just didn't do much for me, and I didn't really think about it much in the years that followed. Of course, at the time, I was taking Wes Craven for granted. Ten years after the film's release, Craven would be gone. What a bummer.

Now, here we are in 2022. A new "Scream" movie is about to hit theaters, dedicated to Craven, who helmed all the other "Scream" movies before this, with "Scream 4" being his final film. I've seen the "Scream" movies multiple times, but as I mentioned, I only watched "Red Eye" once. So when I saw the film was now streaming on Hulu, I thought, "Sure, why not give it another go?" I'm glad I did because it's fair to say this is an underrated work from Craven. 

While "Red Eye" isn't exactly breaking new ground, it is a very solid little thriller. Craven keeps the camera tight while we (and the film's characters) are stuck inside the plane, and he uses that claustrophobic feeling to ratchet up the tension. Rachel McAdams, who is usually always good, does a lot here with a somewhat underwritten character. She makes Lisa strong, even when she's getting knocked around. And Cillian Murphy is pretty damn great as the film's flirty, icy villain. 

We don't really get a lot of sturdy, solid Hollywood thrillers these days, especially mid-budget affairs like this. It's a genre that has kind of been left behind to make way for more spectacle, and that's a shame because I'd love to see Hollywood pump out more movies like this – dependable stuff that can thrill and entertain without taking up too much of your time or energy. I miss that. And most of all, I miss Wes Craven.