Monday, September 26, 2005


Nightmare on plane, street

Director: Wes Craven
Cast: Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy, Brian Cox

Tagline: Fear Takes Flight

Wes Craven’s latest horror sees a woman secretly held hostage on a crowded plane by a man armed only with a phone. The idea is brilliantly bare; it’s Poe, it’s Hitchcock and if properly maintained, terrifying. There are a few typical Craveny problems; the heroine’s average-life problems are a tad clinical and supporting characters weakly drawn, but suspense is maintained elegantly, the action is unpredictable, Cillian Murphy is suitably madcap (in spite of being named ‘Jackson [T?] Rippner’) and the psycho’s motives seep out quite artfully.
Sadly, all of this is an elaborate setup for the one of the most disastrous third acts ever committed to film. As the trailer suggests, the plane lands, removing all claustrophobic tension. The depressingly self-parodic game of cat and mouse in a house which follows would bore even fans of I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. But the real sour aftertaste comes from writer Carl Ellsworth(briefly of both Buffy and Xena)’s primitive attitude towards women. This film actually thinks it’s feminist. It’s as misogynistic as a big bus of rapes driven by a man who doesn’t believe in rape, but it thinks it’s feminist. Monumental voyeuristic suffering is traded for the cheapest, quickest, puniest forms of female empowerment in the most ridiculous of manners. Little Lisa learns how to pose like a fighter, Kill Bill style. Little Lisa gains the confidence of her worried father. Little Lisa’s assertiveness in the workplace increases. Good for her! Let’s all give her an affectionate pat on the buttocks and tell her how well she’s done, considering! Now if only every woman could just survive having her ass and mind worked over by Patrick Bateman’s sicker step-brother every now and then, they could all be this productive. Wes Craven got married during the production of this film. Hmm.


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