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Review: Tristan Clay’s Red Eye

Young adults go in the woods. Young adults die. It’s a simple horror film plot that’s been done hundreds of times in the past. But, you know what? Sometimes I’m in the mood for a good, old fashioned slasher film about a giant menace preying on unsuspecting victims; and Tristan Clay’s Red Eye gives me just that. An above average slasher flick, as far as independent standards are concerned. Red Eye follows a small group of friends as they head into dense forests, cameras in hand, to investigate the legend of Red Eye and prove whether the murderer is based in truth or pure legend. As you can guess, it turns out Red Eye is more than myth… he’s right behind them. Scott King, Destinie Orndoff, Heather Dorff, Hayden Wilberger, Clayton Abbott and Jessica Cameron star in this brutal, gritty, shriek-fest from writer/director Tristan Clay and co-writer Destine Orndoff.

Red Eye is poised to be one of the most talked about titles to hit the indie scene in 2018. A previous press release states that not only is it a six time award nominee, but Red Eye also had to be re-edited because major VOD platforms would reject it due to its violent content. With built in hype and incredible press materials, it’s no wonder that Terror Films picked it up for distribution and put it out on most digital platforms on February 9, 2018. I even went into my viewing thinking, “please be as good as you look, please be as good as you look.” While the latest film from Deranged Minds Entertainment won’t blow any minds in terms of originality, it’s still a rowdy good time and contains massive appeal to slasher flick fans. It’s a typical story in a bloodied subgenre of horror, but it hits your wants and desires in all the right places. If you save your stream for when you’re really yearning for a masked-killer story-line, you’ll be golden.

As a production, I don’t have very many complaints – if any at all. Red Eye didn’t quite live up to the hype and standards that the press materials set, but I didn’t walk away from my viewing with any notes that pinpointed any glaring mistakes. If anything, Red Eye contains delightfully disturbing heaps of gore, above average cinematography for an outdoors night shoot, a script that calls for some heart-stopping suspense, and excellent performances from the entire cast. Heather Dorff (Intrusive Behavior, The Tour) and Jessica Cameron (Silent Night, Truth or Dare) are known for their numerous credits within the horror genre, but I actually found myself most drawn to Destinie Orndoff and Scott King. They’re welcomed additions to this medium, and their talents were highlighted to perfection by director Tristan Clay, cinematographer Robert W. Filion and editor James Coleman.

I’m very happy that Red Eye was shot as a traditional, narrative film because it could’ve been produced as a found footage feature. Most new film-makers would capitalize on the polarizing nature of found footage films, but thankfully Red Eye kept its old school appeal, which resulted in several scenes of fully-angled, full-bodied bloody madness. There’s a lot of walking in the woods, a lot of talking, a lot of character development and drama going on behind each other’s backs. If you can sit through a half hour without any scenes of violence, you’ll be in for a treat if you’re a gore lover. Unmerciful scenes of torture and death await you. It’s almost like an indie version of Wrong Turn. Brutal, underhanded and unruly, Red Eye is an expertly produced and well acted thriller yet I was still somewhat let down. It’s nothing that’ll make you too excited, but it’s better than other entries in its category. Fun, but not too fun. Final Score: 7 out of 10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)