And now, Scary-Crayon presents...
by: Wes

Last weekend, Wes Craven's Red Eye debuted to rave reviews (the film currently has an 82% Fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes). Starring Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy as the heroine and villain, respectively, this supposedly exciting thriller has professional and amateur film critics alike singing Craven's praises and declaring that the famed director has returned to top form with his latest suspenseful offering. And having heard their OMG! TERROR TAKES FLIGHT!!!enthusiastic endorsements of the film, you'd think I'd at least be a little interested in seeing it, especially given my deep-seated affection for Craven's Nightmare on Elm Street flicks (didn't much care for the Scream pictures, though) -- but I'm totally not. Like you care, right? Nevertheless, I'll explain my reasons for planning to skip this so-called cinematic thrill ride.

Admittedly, when I first saw the teaser trailer about a month ago, I was very interested in seeing Red Eye. I was visiting NYC and had ducked into an unobtrusive electronics store to escape the oppressive heat and crowded streets and was wandering amidst a rack of discount CDs -- or were they adult DVDs? -- when I looked up and saw it. On a TV screen suspended above the checkout counter, a woman and a man bumped into each other innocently enough in an airport terminal and began speaking. Though the "exchange" only lasted for a few seconds and we couldn't hear the content of their speech, from their smiles and body language it was clear that the two shared a certain chemistry. Already, the gears in my mind were turning: WTF?! A Mile High Club movie?!? AWESOME!!!

Cut to the two coincidentally ending up seated next to each other on the flight and resuming their affable conversation. Then -- suddenly -- the mood of the music shifted and the man gripped her arm tightly. His smile hardened at once; the pleasant warmth in his eyes froze, giving way to a chilling, icy stare. Fear appeared on the woman's face -- followed by flashes of her running down the aisle and locking herself in the bathroom, only to stare into her own frightened eyes in the mirror -- and then she was back in her seat, locked next to this man whose once friendly face now seemed to say, "I mean to kill you here, tonight -- and there's nothing you can do about it." And then, as the screen fadeed to pitch, the man's left eye glowed a wicked, bloody red.

Oh. My. God. I saw this and thought, Vampire.

And then, Vampire -- !

Bloody brilliant. Brilliant! VAMPIRE ON A PLANE! What a concept. To be sure, there would be some problems with such a plot -- as Angel noted way back in Season 2 of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", a vampire on a plane would have no sure way of protecting himself from the sun, but they could've worked around this. They could've been flying back to California from Vancouver, or from Boston to Florida -- any two places farther than an hour apart by plane but residing in the same timezone would've done, really. But imagine the terror! You're seated next to a vampire on the plane -- and he's going to kill you -- and there's no hope of escape! First, sure, you'd freak out and hide in the bathroom and rush about the aisles and whatnot, but eventually you'd have to resign yourself to your fate. No one would believe you, and even if they did -- as in the Season 5 "Buffy" scene with Glory and Tara -- to enlist their aid would be to seal their doom as well. (Two "Buffy" references in the same paragraph? I feel like a big bag of dork freakishness. :/) So you'd sit there and deal with your impending doom, shaking in terrified silence. And that's when the movie would get really unsettling.

Seriously, can you imagine being forced to sit next to someone you knew was going to kill you for several hours? What would you say to him? Oh, the potential for chilling and thought-provoking conversations! Would you try to persuade him to let you live? Entrust him with your last wishes? Or, presented with this once-in-a-lifetime (literally) opportunity to speak to a bona fide vampire, would you question him and try to understand his actions? Why, Cillian... *why*? ;___;And can you imagine the chilling things he'd say -- this sadist who took the time to stalk and befriend a woman he intended to murder for no other apparent reason than to torment her, first appearing to her as a potential love interest and then revealing himself to be her demonic executioner? Hell, would she overcome her paralyzing fear of him and, returning to her initial feelings of attraction, attempt to solicit a final pity fuck from the vampire before he tore open her throat and feasted on her blood? The possibilities are endless, and I turned these various potential scenarios over in my head as I eagerly awaited the day on which Red Eye would begin playing in theaters across the nation.

Yet as the release date neared, new trailers surfaced. In one of them, I saw a missile fired. A missile?! I thought. Why would a vampire need to fire missiles?! That couldn't be the same movie I had found so intriguing during my visit to the Big Apple! But alas, it was true: Red Eye wasn't about a vampire, I found -- it was about a terrorist. A stinking, rotten, worthless terrorist. My heart sank.

Not that terrorists can't be scary, mind you, but they hardly provide for the depth of conversational, supernatural, and incidental horror that I envisioned as I dreamed of this movie. Terrorists aren't monsters. They're people. Overzealous, fanatical people -- but people. They have goals -- and they have weaknesses -- a far cry from drifting, more or less aimless immortal creatures who don't even necessarily kill because they have to. After all, a vampire can feed on blood without killing his/her victim (depending upon the specifics of the myth being referenced), and while a vampire's aims could be accomplished by killing someone -- say, the death of a vampire hunter or a member of his crew -- I was hardly thinking of so involved a scenario. When the motive is that there is no motive -- when the killing seems more or less senseless yet nevertheless inevitable -- that is scary. Simplicity is scary. Complex terrorist plots (that don't somehow involve zombies and demons)? Much less so.

And I dunno about you, but I find it pretty difficult to justify spending money on a movie for which I've invented -- to my mind, anyway! -- what's probably a much more interesting and engaging plot than what actually appears on the screen. Consider the outcomes: If my movie's better, Craven's Red Eye would only disappoint me, and -- if I'm wrong -- so what? If I really need to see a movie, it's not like I don't own tons of DVDs I haven't watched yet! Marry me, vampire Penelope Cruz.Moreover, in the event that I choose to continue thinking about my own version Red Eye, imagination doesn't cost eight bucks (which, as I know from having worked retail, is roughly equivalent to 80 minutes in HELL) to enjoy.

So forget about the Red Eye now playing in theaters with its worthless terrorist plot -- return to that cruel vampire and the doomed young woman seated next to him at a height of 30,000 feet. But wait: Why must the vampire be a he? Let's make things a bit more interesting and reverse the sexes! Now we've got a vicious female vampire and a strapping young man rendered helpless -- a tale of feminist might and emasculated manhood. This time, the man is the "damsel in distress"; traditional roles reverse. We've ventured into pretentious, art house territory. And hell, let's take it a step further and make it a Spanish film with English subtitles. Red Eye no longer -- now it is El Ojo Rojo. Nice ring to it, no? And let's cast Penelope Cruz as the vampire. 'Cause she's bloody gorgeous. Ha ha, a vampire pun!

But seriously -- would you rather envision Penelope Cruz as a fiendish vampire or watch a bumbling terrorist threaten some timid chick on an airplane? Yeah, that's what I thought! So stay home, save your money, and pop your own damned popcorn.  :P

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