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Review: RED EYE (2017)

It’s always nice to see new young talent emerging in any genre. When it’s in your preferred genre, it’s a double bonus. So when I began hearing some buzz about the backwoods slasher RED EYE, I was interested. Written at 18 and filmed at 19 by Tristan Clay and DestiniOrndoffe with Clay directing and Orndoff producing and starring as Rykyr it sounded interesting. But would it live up to its hype?

Gage Barker (Scott King) grew up hearing the legend of Red Eye (Clayton Abbott) a backcountry cannibal who ate his own family. Determined that this will be the subject of his first film he gathers up his friends and heads into the woods. Not letting an ominous run-in with a stranded motorist (Jessica Cameron BUCKOUT ROAD, PUPPET KILLER) deter them, they set up camp. They quickly learn there is something evil in the woods.

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RED EYE certainly captures the spirit of the classic killer in the woods film. It doesn’t have the cast or budget to kill off loads of folk who just happen to wander by at the wrong time. It can, however, make the cast it has died particularly nasty deaths. And they’re done with practical effects, no CGI.

John Lauterbach (ANDROGYNYM, THE GOOD THINGS DEVILS DO) and his crew channel films like THE MUTILATOR and INTRUDER nicely with their effects. There’s also some great cinematography, and not just the creepy night scenes we’d expect. There are some beautiful aerial shots at the start that show what you can do with a drone.

The script, however, may have stayed a little too close to its roots. It’s very predictable, and I saw the twists coming from miles away. Of course, in slashers, that’s not always considered a bad thing. But I’d like to see some new ideas go with the new blood. I will give them credit for upping the level of sheer perversity. You would have to go right past the 80s into the 70s and films like ISLAND OF DEATH to find stuff like this. RED EYE is not sanitized horror.

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RED EYE is a nasty, rough slice of horror that will satisfy fans looking for some red meat. As long as they don’t mind being well ahead of the plot most of the time. I’ll be interested to see what Clay and Orndoff do next, hopefully, they’ll work on their writing chops first, though.

RED EYE is available on VOD from Terror Films, with DVDs to come at a later date.

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