Director – Tristan Clay (Sin, Desolate)
Starring – Heather Dorff (Dry Spell, Dark Realm), Destinie Orndoff (Party Night, Red Hollow), and Hayden Wilberger
Release Date – 2017
Rating – 1.5/5
Tagline – “He wants to see your insides”
I have a soft spot for movie based on my home state. I’ve lived in West Virginia pretty much my entire life so movies like October Sky, We Are Marshall, The Dancin’ Outlaw, and Wrong Turn have been a huge part of my life. I love seeing places I know or near to me on screen regardless of their representation of the state. As I got older and more obsessed with horror I loved when I discovered that there was several indie directors releasing films within the state. Directors like Brad Twigg, Eamon Hardiman, and Justin Channel has released several amazing indie films that were made within the state.
A few years ago I caught wind that West Virginian Tristan Clay was crowd funding for his first feature film. The slasher Red Eye (not to be confused for the Wes Craven film from 2005) successfully hit their goal and the film was made. I couldn’t wait to check it out and several months back my friends at MVD was kind enough to send a review copy my way. Thanks guys.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows an aspiring filmmaker who takes a group of people who hate each other into the woods in hope of filming a documentary around the legend of Red Eye. Legend has it that he was a backwoods man who ate his children and now murders anyone that ventures into the woods. The young filmmaker’s friends bite off more than they can chew when they discover that the legend of Red Eye is real if you want it to be.**Spoiler Alert**
I wanted to love Red Eye. I went into this one wanting to fucking love it and be a champion of Tristan Clay and his production company…but I couldn’t. The movie was a huge disappointment and will be remembered as one of the most generic horror films of recent years. This is a prime example of Wal-Mart horror.
The acting in this one is rough. I’ve watched no budget backyard movies and I’ve reviewed films with million dollar budgets. I always take the budget and experience into account when watching a movie but Red Eye just didn’t work for me. The cast was right but for the wrong reasons. We have the guy that looks like your little brother’s best friend that is a waiter at Olive Garden as the film’s asshole character. He could have easily been the young filmmaker that flips the script as the movie progresses. The characters are extremely clichéd and one dimensional which is another factor in the film’s performance being so flat.
The story for this one is a bit of a chore to sit through. We get a standard slasher story that you see in several modern slashers attempting to capture that 80s vibe. They venture into the woods looking for the spot, cabin, tree, whatever associated in a slasher legend before encountering said legend. It does abandon the “you wronged me” portion of so many slashers like Friday the 13th and Prom Night but it is still pretty common stock in slasher films. With that being said, the pacing is off. The film moves at a snails pace for the first 45 minutes or so and the viewer is forced to watch painful dialogue between characters they don’t like. It’s rare that I come across a movie and I can’t wait to see them all die. Most slashers give the viewer a taste of death randomly throughout the film to keep the viewer on their toes. Red Eye goes the other route where the viewers prays that everyone on screen dies in brutal and horrific ways.
Finally, the film does have some gore here and there but it does not capitalize on it. We get some cool shots that could be pretty brutal but the film would then cut away or change focus onto something else turning what could be unforgettable slasher moments into clichéd slasher fodder. The effects we do get are top notch but very underutilized. Overall, Red Eye could have been the slasher film of the year but it failed to pull together anything memorable. Instead it becomes another prime example of what it means to be Wal-Mart horror. Skip it.