For all fans of movies that veer way off the mainstream path, the various new media platforms are a gold mine in being able to see these projects that, while they do not command lavish budgets, nevertheless are gems simply because of the passion that went into making them.
Tristan Clay and Destinie Orndoff are young and energetic fillm-makers who co-founded Deranged Minds Entertainment, and with the release of their first full-length feature, “Red Eye,” on VOD, Amazon Prime, iTunes, etc., appear to be on their way to great careers.
As indicated by the name of their company, Clay and Orndoff are not putting out pretty little family flicks. “Red Eye” is a full-on horror slasher movie, one that will please hardcore fans of the genre.
As has been noted on this blog before, great technological advances have enabled people to make movies at low cost that do not look like they are products of a limited cash flow. The cinematography on “Red Eye” by Robert W. Fillon is superb, with stunning visuals and excellent covering of nighttime shots. The sound editing is well-syncronized.
Directed by Clay, from a script he and Orndoff co-wrote, “Red Eye” does employ some of the staples of the horror-slasher genre: people venturing into an unfamiliar, often remote environment where hostilities seem inevitable. Survival becomes a test of resourcefulness and resilience, and often the characters fall way short of these traits.
Gage Barker (Scott King) is a passionate young film-maker who wants to put together a documentary on the legend of Red Eye, a man who turned to cannibalism to survive and all too soon was overwhelmed by an insatiable appetite for blood. Yeah, I know: documentary . . . legend. You think: “The Blair Witch Project.” Yeah, same premise. But from there, no comparison.
Unlike “Blair Witch,” where we really never learn much about Heather, Josh and Mike, “Red Eye” takes time to explore the four main characters, flaws and all.
Gage enlists the help of three friends and they embark on a trip to Black Creek, West Virginia, supposedly the area where Red Eye indulged in his ghastly feeding.
There is tension in the group. Jake (Hayden Wilberger) is a first-class jerk, and throughout the movie, every time he seems to redeem himself, he reverts to his crass demeanor.
Rykyr Jacobs (Orndoff) is a young lady still smarting from being a social outcast because of her macabre tastes in movies. She defiantly boasts of being proudly different, but the scars are there. She and Jake are an item although the relationship is very slippery and can get abusive.
Ryann O’Riley (Heather Dorff) is probably the most messed up of the bunch. A victim of sexual abuse as a child yet forced by circumstances to live with her unloving mother, she is pretty self-perceptive of her potentially disastrous lifestyle and carries the burden of guilt and desperate need to find love.
Gage seems to be the most stable of the foursome, although his obsession with this documentary project tends to make him seem detached from the group.
While driving on the back roads, the group encounters Bea (Jessica Cameron, who has directed two pretty intense horror movies herself, “Mania” and “Truth or Dare”), stranded by car trouble. Bea is friendly and confirms Gage’s claims about Red Eye, saying that her autistic brother Barry has in fact seen Red Eye and been traumatized by the sighting.
After a brief hike further into the wilds, the group prepares to settle in for the night. Gage and Ryann go on a hunt for firewood and take a break during which Ryann unloads emotionally on Gage. Meanwhile, Jake elevates his creep persona during a physical encounter with Rykyr.
Up to this point, “Red Eye” is pretty calm, but after it gets dark, all hell breaks loose.
Once the violence starts, be warned that the scenes are unrelentingly brutal. John Lauterbach earns kudos for some explicit and gruesome special effects.
The character development is the key in delivering a potent wallop as the four young people deal with terror and pain, and “Red Eye” leaves the audience with the question: What is the real horror — the legend that never dies, or the obsession that keeps it alive?
“Red Eye” currently can be accessed via these platforms:
Google Play: https://tinyurl.com/yd5hnto8