The sub-caption for RED EYE reads, "He wants to see your insides". Trust me, given the contents of the film, it's apt. But let me propose another one (hell, this may even work as a replacement title):
Gage and Jake are Dicks, The Movie.
If you're of the mindset that art - effective art - is characterized by its ability to make those who observe it, thoroughly uncomfortable, then Tristan Clay and Destinie Orndoff, mission accomplished! Red Eye was responsible for some of the most intense levels of discomfort I've felt since co-founding Thirteenth Floor; and it's not as if the provoking content was something I had never seen before, more so that the manner in which it was introduced and presented in the film, caught me completely off-guard. Detached, frivolous, and completely out of left-field. I'm still trying to make up my mind whether or not I was indeed shocked by what I saw, or if it was simply the case that I was taken aback by Red Eye's brazen directorial nature. More than likely, the truth sits somewhere in-between. The story (conveniently pulled from a recent press release):
...based around “The Legend of Red Eye.” This myth covers a violent, deranged masked murderer, who dwells in the backwoods of Black Creek, West Virginia. Gage Barker (Scott King), a young man who grew up on the tales of Red Eye as a kid, learns that there could be some truth behind these folk tales. With a group of his friends and his camera equipment in tow, they hike into the woods to seek him out or to prove that he is nothing more than a myth. They hike into the woods to seek him out or to prove that he is nothing more than a myth.
This being fledgling director Tristan Clay's first feature-length film, I can say I'm not surprised that Red Eye's strengths, lie in its ability to spill as much blood onto the screen as possible. After all, I've seen it before, the overwhelming desire to come out swinging - "balls out" - in the attempt to elicit the kind of emotion that validates why the horror genre was chosen in the first place. It's understandable of course, first impressions are everything, and what better genre than our favorite to act as a vehicle for such a delivery. But, there's was something to Red Eye's structure that indicated to me Tristan had much more up his sleeve than just a few gory tricks - narratively speaking, there were some really fun twists and turns which brought the film full circle (effectively tying up any loose-ends) and ultimately elevated Red Eye above mere splatter house designation. And if he and the rest of the Deranged Minds Entertainment crew happen to be reading this, know that I personally would love to see that side of things developed further as the team moves forward in their career. I love blood-and-carnage, don't get me wrong, but it actually becomes more effective when juxtaposed against a strong narrative built on the foundation of compelling characters. Not that Red Eye's were devoid of depth and dimension mind you, just that - I like what I see, so let's see some more!
Speaking of, hats off to Destinie Orndoff and Heather Dorff. Tackling their respective roles with the level of aplomb and physicality that they did couldn't have been easy. In fact, their energy was such that whenever the two were off-screen, the film suffered for it. And while I was already a fan of Dorff's thanks to her performance in Jessica Cameron's ultra-violent melodrama Truth or Dare, this just solidified that for me. As for the rest of the cast, they're serviceable enough as the kill fodder they were mostly written to be, and as a bonus treat, a brief cameo by Jessica Cameron (playing something of a country bumpkin), but its mainly used as a way to nudge the film forward towards grisly inevitability, emphasis on grisly.
Let me stress once more, when it comes to violence and disturbing content, the gloves are off with this one. So unless you have a strong stomach, or a weak will against morbid curiosity, you'd do well to heed caution, or avoid it all together. Just don't say we didn't warn you; Red Eye is no pushover.
Side note - I'd love a Red Eye vs Victor Crowley spin-off. Someone, somewhere, please make this happen.
RED EYE IS AVAILABLE FEBRUARY 9th ON ALL MAJOR VOD PLATFORMS