New Horror Releases: Into The Woods: Red Eye (2018) Reviewed

Perhaps the greatest thing to happen to horror in the last few years is the push to get more low budget titles into the mainstream, in front of our faces where we can delight in gore and death that isn't infused by computer generated effects, but is more so a reminder of creative intuition and the desire to succeed. Using the tagline: "Where your passion bleeds through", Clay and Orndoff deliver ten fold on letting us know they're one of us. And it's endearing. This one is by the fans for the fans. 

Finally getting to set our eyes on a project known as Red Eye, we are transported back to the roots of a genre that used to be more about pushing the envelope of what we'd accept as entertainment than it was about creating endless sequels and heartless retreads. Horror is meant to frighten us. It's meant to mirror our societal woes. And it's supposed to make us question our own mortality. Red Eye goes full retro with straight practical effects and scenarios that feel intimate and refreshing. 

Films like I Spit on Your Grave, the original Friday the 13th, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre all mixed an amount of grit with sexuality, fierce delinquency, and the will to survive at all costs. Red Eye uses familiar themes from numerous classic movies and at minimum attempts to bring them back to the forefront. While some of the line delivery seems forced at times, the script uses a modern dialogue that absolutely mirrors the constructs that we've always known and loved. 

This micro-budgeted feature is a strong reminder of what we used to look for at the video store on a Saturday night. Set up like the typical road trip slasher flick, a quad of hikers are looking to film their expedition to find out if a legendary story is true. When they enter the backwoods to film a documentary on the killer known as Red Eye, all hell ensues as victims are vanquished one by one. Creating perverse kill scenarios that are sometimes uncomfortable to watch, Clay shows us exactly how ballsy he is by infusing his film with a depravity I've not seen since A Serbian Film. Where the lack of financial backing hurts his project in some areas, that same problem actually balances itself, making the wicked nature of the death scenes even more dangerous and spectacular. It feels real. You can feel their pain. 

Damnit kids! I told you to pick up your toys!
I'm tired of stubbing my toes!

Where some might take issue will be with some of the acting. At times, it's easy to see that there's a bit of a learning curve happening here. Speech patterns feel wooden. Lines seem unnatural. But for once, we're giving that a pass. Each film is subjective. Going in, we knew that Red Eye was a first time out for the director and some of his cast. Taking into account the limitations and the amount of heart that's been put into this, we can't really say much other than, "Go get 'em!". Knowing that this was something created by the love for all things horror, Destinie, Heather, Hayden, and Scott all deserve props for their desire and bravery in front of the camera. While Heather has tons of cred behind her already, the other three are a little green still, but that's okay. Everyone starts somewhere. This is an excellent jumping off point. 

Clay's first foray into full length film making definitely makes some missteps but ultimately cashes in by finally bringing us back to the core ideals of the lost art of exploitation rooted in what scares us. We all fear death. Red Eye brings it in brutal fashion. If you can excuse the confines of finances, this is a serious step in the right direction for a person that we'll need to keep watching in the years ahead. It would be cool to see this idea get the backing of a major studio one of these days to see what else Clay can do with expanding the mythology surrounding his killer. 

Also of note, check out some of the rad steady cam work they do in this movie. Enough said. If you're a horror hound, watch this when it gets released next week.