There are a number of movies I’ve seen recently that I haven’t bothered to review here: Broken Flowers, Grizzly Man, The 40-Year-Old Virgin. I must break my silence to warn you that all of them are well worth seeing before this thriller in search of thrills.

Red Eye is a huge disappointment. Featuring two talented leads and a premise that should’ve had way more gas, it implodes upon itself almost immediately, when the creepy Cillian Murphy fakes being a romantic lead. As the movie later demonstrates, he shouldn’t have played anything other than creepy. Meanwhile, likable babe Rachel McAdams (Wedding Crashers) is given an unlikable character, a hotel manager who is a gormless pleaser and hyper-stressed workaholic. Her character should’ve been capable of turning the tables on Murphy’s blackmailer, but instead acts like a horror-movie cliche, running around in distress in a low-cut top, unable to initiate anything resembling the clever comeback that the genre demands. Brian Cox… don’t even get me started on Brian Cox. What a waste. The guy’s an acting genius and he has about two lines and thirty seconds of screentime. If you cast Brian Cox, hire a goddam writer to give him a B-story.

About the writing: it seems to be aiming for realistic but plays like the worst kabuki theater in the hands of Wes Craven, who allows poor supporting perfs and ridiculous plot contrivances to murder the few moments of suspense. Spoilers ahead…

Read more of “Movie Review: Red Eye”How is it that the woman comes by with the book at just the right moment? And how does Cillian get it back from her without her seeing what Lisa wrote? And how convenient is it that the phone goes out in an electrical storm, right while she’s on it? Here’s an idea… try having your protagonist take some actions, rather than just responding. Hello, first rule of story-telling! Ask Brian Cox, he played Robert McKee. The movie is so compulsively mysogynistic that it refuses to allow the rape victim to even get vicarious revenge. Brian Cox (MIA the whole movie) gets the finishing blow. Don’t even get me started on the convoluted terrorist plot that seems to be based on luck and unneccessary complications.

I don’t think I would be so mad about this inconsequential dreck, but a trusted friend of mine saw a sneak of this movie and told me it was good. I called him and raised all the above points. “Yeah,” he said sheepishly, “you’re sorta convincing me.” “You can let Rachel McAdams’ hotness distract you for maybe thirty minutes,” I said, “but then you’ve gotta ask yourself — what were they thinking?” “Yeah, it pretty much sucked, didn’t it?” he agreed.

I mean, an assassination of the head of Homeland Security? That has so many implications. At least a movie like Swordfish gives us a villain that is doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. But the only reason I can figure out why people wanna kill this guy and his family is because the dude is such a bad actor and the wife looks like a pornstar.

Red Eye is a bad movie that’s not even a fun bad movie like Swordfish or Cellular. Avoid. Avoid.