Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Red Eye (2017) Review


I'm always cautious when going into low budget horror films, especially seeing some of the extremely positive comments over social media, but even more so for this particular film as I backed it on Indiegogo. Yes, my name is in the end credits.

In the past I have been accused of writing extremely nice, not completely honest, overly positive reviews when it comes to films that are made by my friends on social media. It's actually only me that's made that accusation during watching this film. Going back over some of my older reviews from a few years ago and after re-watching said films I am guilty of it. However, it is only a couple of films that I received as DVD screeners back when I was reviewing a lot of films. There was a film a while back that I backed (made by a friend on social media) and I didn't even write a review as I wasn't impressed at all. 

But the older I get (I'm now 40) and with the thousands upon thousands of films (not just horror) I've watched over the years, it isn't very often I find a new film that, even though I may enjoy it, that I find myself being impressed with from a critical point of view. It's with this critical view that reviews should be written, not letting fandom, personal feelings, politics, or friendships affect how one writes an honest review. Over the past year my reviews have been written with this in mind. This review will be brutality honest (without being a dick), to the point and short. So, once again, I digress! Back to Red Eye...

Here's Tristan Clay's (Director and Co-writer) plot outline:
"Red Eye is a legend Gage Barker use to be told as a kid. When he found out there was some truth behind this legend he gathered a group of friends to hike in the backwoods of Black Creek, WV to help him use this as the basis for his first film project. To what extent will they go to make this project a reality? Will their passion bleed through? Or cross the line?"

As a first feature and knowing that writers Tristan Clay and Destinie Orndoff (also played Rykyr in the movie) are big horror fans I expected something, at the very least, interesting. 

Story: Friends hiking in the woods making a documentary. Nothing original there by any stretch of the imagination. It's been done before and done well. Red Eye added nothing new or note worthy to this type of story. It was also predicable to the point of wanting it to hurry up.

Script: The script was way over thought and written. The film was overloaded with too much character development. It was uninteresting, and wasn't needed for this type of film. It became overdrawn. The over use of movie references became tedious and didn't come off as being cool nor made any real homage to horror films in general as one would expect. Again, been done before. Scream delivered that in perfect fashion and was applicable at that point in the genre's history.

Direction: It was far from anything special. I noticed that a lot of angles could've been used to make certain scenes more interesting. I didn't notice anything to suggest that Clay has a "keen eye" and that's still considering this is his first full length feature.

Cast: The acting wasn't the worst I've seen, but was still sub par. My main gripe was the fact that Clay failed to utilise the most experienced people of the project, Jessica Cameron and Heather Dorff, to his or the film's advantage. I felt Hayden Wilberger as Jake was a bad casting choice for that particular role. Being completely honest, he came across as effeminate. However, if Orndoff gets more experience I think she could turn out to be a decent genre actress. Got to start somewhere, right?

Soundtrack & Score: While I am partial to heavy metal and have always said "heavy metal and horror go hand in hand" the music wasn't used appropriately. It often seemed out of place or miss-timed. The score was very generic and added no tension to any of the film where eerie scores are often utilised.

Special FX: Yes, it was a tight budget, but the blood and gore FX were decent for a low budget flick.

Kill Scenes / Action: Nothing here was even that gruesome for the seasoned horror fan, or that hasn't been done to greater effect even with less of a budget. In fact, some the "pushing" or "hitting" lets call it, looked downright amateurish. The necrophilia scene wasn't needed and once again added nothing of value, not even shock value. It was dull and laboured. And one scene in particular made no sense being in there and only looked like the director wanted to add some unnecessary violence towards a female cast member. Both scenes didn't fit the narrative. 

Heather Dorff. Crying. Pretty much sums it up.

I understand it's low budget. I think the final figure on Indiegogo was just over $12000. I have no idea how much or if they put their own money into the project as well. Either way, it made no difference to the outcome. The movie was extremely poor considering every aspect and I didn't enjoy anything about it. And I've seen modern horror movies made by first time directors / writers for way less than 12 grand or around that figure, and without other people's money that at the very least were interesting or added something a little different to the genre. Off the top of my head... Jessica Cameron's Truth or Dare. Liam Regan's My Bloody Banjo. Matt Farnsworth's The Orphan Killer. The Soska Sister's Dead Hooker in a Trunk. Ben & Chris Blaine's Nina Forever. These all had something memorable about them and are different from the normal shite that passes for horror nowadays, whether mainstream or indie and regardless of budget. Is this the sad state that modern horror is becoming nowadays? It's only a handful of films, if that, a year that stand out now.

I did say to my Mrs half way through the film that it looked and felt like it was made by school kids as part of a film class (which I wasn't far off the mark with). I'm sorry to say, I think these kids need to go back to drawing board and take into consideration all the constructive criticism from what they would call "negative" reviews before asking for people's money again. 

Red Eye gets Half a Star out of 5