Last night I went to see a free screening of Wes Craven’s new “thriller”, Red Eye. I wasn't expecting brilliance, of course, but, being a fan of horror, I thought it might at least be entertaining. I really should have taken it as a bad omen when the film opened with a trailer for a movie called Just Like Heaven.
Just Like Heaven is about a cute young successful nurse, played by Reese Witherspoon, who is leading an otherwise “unremarkable” life. (And by “unremarkable”, they mean that she doesn't have a boyfriend. For shame!) One day, Reece dies in a freak accident. (Boo hoo!). But don't cry for Little Miss because then she returns as a spunky, adorable GHOST who, not knowing she’s dead, haunts her old apartment, (now occupied by Mark Ruffalo). The unlikely pair run around trying to convince people that Ghost Reece actually exists and that Mark Ruffalo isn't crazy. Hijinks inevitably ensue. When Napoleon Dynamite shows up as an ineffectual paranormal expert, the hijinks just keep on ensuing! Later, exhausted from all the hijinking, Ghost Reece and Mark Ruffalo discover that…wait for it…they’re fallen in love! Finally, to throw some peanuts on that sundae, the marketing department rapes a Cure song by using it for both the title AND the theme music. It’s Ghost meets The Man with Two Brains but without any of the sexiness of the former or the comedy of the latter! Would that I were joking, friends. WOULD THAT I WERE MAKING THIS UP!! Clearly, the only thing that could redeem a film like this would be to have one of two surprise endings.
1. Ghost Reece is revealed to be the adorable, spunky incarnation of The Prince of Darkness, who, in true Beelzebub fashion, only convinces Mark Ruffalo to fall in love with her so that he can impregnate her and their hybrid offspring can usher in the end of days.
2. Mark Ruffalo is actually in an insane asylum and the entire move was just a hallucination brought on by enough sedatives to bring down an elephant.
Sadly, I have a feeling that neither of those things is going to happen.
As for the feature presentation, it truly amazes me what Wes Craven agrees to put his name on these days. Cillian Murphy I can forgive for participating because I'm sure that when he agreed to make this film, he had no idea that Batman Begins would became a box office success. And also because he’s so very pretty. I could watch a 3 1/2 hour Kenneth Branagh remake of Moulin Rouge if it meant getting to gaze into Cillian's big blue eyes the entire time. But I digress.
But Wes, dude! Were you even awake when you were directing this? Were you stricken temporarily BLIND at the start of filming but were afraid to tell anybody for fear of halting production? I realize that your legacy isn’t exactly filled with think-pieces, but at least movies like Nightmare on Elm Street were FUN. This wasn’t fun. Well, it was fun at TIMES, but only in the sense that scoffing at plot holes with your friends can be fun. However, making fun of plot holes becomes tiresome when you realize that NOTHING in the movie makes sense.
And the characters were so BORING. I couldn’t care one iota about Rachel McAdams’ character. She was dim and uninteresting. Cillian's Jackson Rippner (get it???!!), was engaging at first, whatwith the piercing blue eyes displaying a charming evil which suggests that you would almost enjoy being stabbed to death by his lovely Irish hand. But once I realised that he was given NOTHING to work with, I just wanted to movie to be over. Even the comedy of Cillian's inexplicable display of T-100-like invulnerability wasn't enough to hold my interest. Once again, this movie would have been made SO MUCH BETTER by the surprise introduction of supernatural elements. But alas, we weren't given such a reprieve. We were only given boring, far-fetched political assassination plots. The only person I DID feel sorry for was Brian Cox. Not Brian Cox’s character, mind you. Brian Cox the incredibly gifted actor, who was forced to spend much of the movie sitting in his living room watching “The Comedy Marathon” and acting into a phone.
So what, you ask? You saw a bad movie. There are loads of them out there. What’s the big deal? The big deal is this: While Dom, Andrew and I sat agape at the ridiculous monstrosity before us; the rest of the audience was eating out of Wes Craven’s blind, incontinent hands. They clapped whenever anything remotely actiony happened. They gasped at the extremely predictable “startling” moments. One girl two rows behind us was so invested in the story that she threw herself against the wall in response to a jump cue. The women directly behind us actually said “You go, girl!” I don’t think I have to tell you that I take moments like this as categorical sign of the impending apocalypse.
Maybe Reece Witherspoon is trying to tell us something…
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