The narrative of Red Eye goes a lil’ somethin’ like this; four good looking “friends” (note those quotation marks, because these pals aren’t all that fond of each other for the most part) head off into the woods of Black Creek West Virginia to film a documentary about a legendary inbred maniac named ‘Red Eye’. As they traipse through the woods they talk…and…talk…and talk…(throwing in some “cute” references to other fright flicks…and some dark backstory here and there). Eventually (thirty minutes in out of the hour and thirteen minute run time) the killer makes his appearance and we start to get what we came for; namely for the cast to be reduced in number. As the stalk n’ slay continues we find that all may not be as it seems in those wicked woods.
The main attraction to Red Eye is the immense amount of heart the film makers obviously put into it. Writer/director Tristan Clay and writer/actor Destinie Orndoff obviously love our beloved horror biz, and their debut flick hits the right beats (which does pose a problem…see below). Helping things along, there are some pretty solid performances in the film, especially from Heather Dorff as the troubled Ryann and Hayden Wilberger as the prize-winning (and surprisingly layered) dick Jake (and their relationship brings a nice sense of pathos to the piece), and the aforementioned Orndoff who could easily become a new scream queen. Additionally, there is some nice cinematography involved, and the short run time (usually) keeps the pace brisk. Finally, the film boasts a pretty rockin’ soundtrack that thankfully trades in the ’80’s inspired synths we usually find in pictures such as these for some hard driving guitar work.
On the downside, this film is waaay too talky. I understand that the film makers were striving to create characters we give a damn about, but it really gives the horror elements short shrift…and that’s a pretty big problem in a slasher film (though credit where credit is due, these folks have included a few truly F’d up moments and great practical gore which were appreciated by this horror hound). Also some of the editing has a bit of a janky quality that results in some of the violence lacking the proper “punch” and coming off visually soft.
With some rad gore, depraved moments, and a nice bit of paradigm shifting, Red Eye is a strong entry in the slasher genre. With a stronger eye on pacing, and being a bit less precious in regards to their dialog this would have been a stronger effort, but as is it’s worth feasting your putrid peepers on!