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Flight of the Living Dead

Flight of the Living Dead (2007) Movie Poster
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USA  •    •  94m  •    •  Directed by: Scott Thomas.  •  Starring: David Chisum, Kristen Kerr, Kevin J. O'Connor, Richard Tyson, Erick Avari, Derek Webster, Todd Babcock, Siena Goines, Mieko Hillman, Raymond J. Barry, Serah D'Laine, Brian Ames, Brian Kolodziej.  •  Music by: Nathan Wang.
       On a routine red eye flight from Los Angeles to Paris, a renegade group of scientists has smuggled aboard a container holding a fellow scientist infected with a deadly genetically engineered virus which reanimates the dead. While the 747 crosses through violent thunderstorm, and no place to land, the flesh-eating zombies quickly spread the virus, infecting passengers and crew, the few survivors must fight for their lives stranded in the air with no way out.

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Image from: Flight of the Living Dead (2007)
Image from: Flight of the Living Dead (2007)
Image from: Flight of the Living Dead (2007)
Image from: Flight of the Living Dead (2007)
Image from: Flight of the Living Dead (2007)
If you're like me, you adore "Shaun Of The Dead" and "Dead Alive" and always will but, like with the Sam Raimi dead movies, could wish the zombies and atmosphere were just a little less silly and a little more scary. If that's the case this movie is for you. I was very skeptical about this one. What a great surprise! It delivers--it's funny, sure, but it's scary too...and I don't scare easily.

The plot mixes "Return Of The Living Dead" with one of the old "Airport" disaster movies. We're introduced to a group of people traveling on a plane from LA to Paris, including one group responsible for an illegal, toxic surprise in the cargo hold. The setup alone is great-- if you've ever experienced turbulence on a plane you know what anxiety is, there have been many suspense films exploiting this. The plane has to fly through heavy storm clouds, the toxic cargo is released and...the Situation Begins To Deteriorate Rapidly. Actually, all hell breaks loose. It does take awhile for things to kick in but that's part of the fun...there's a yawing sense of dread that permeates the whole first half of the movie...you know what's coming...just how bad is it going to be?

Pretty bad! These zombies are not slow "Romero" shufflers, they're more like the animalistic "infected" from "28 Days Later," although they are most certainly replicating flesh-eaters. The main attack, once they finally hit in full force, is really disturbing as you wonder just how anyone could possibly survive in the situation. It's a great premise...and well executed. The way the filmmakers are able to prolong suspense and carry the terror of one high concept over a feature-length running time is ingenious...also too the way they are able to pull off the kind of scares they do without ever dimming the lights. You see everything (and it is a very gory film...not the kind of "porn gore" that has become common of late, where everything is shown just to make you puke, the director shows restraint, he knows that sometimes what you DON'T see is more scary even though he kindly delivers the goods again and again). The zombie make-up is nothing that alarming, but I've always believed it's the IDEA of zombies that's scarier than the look...the idea that your best friendloverenemywhatever suddenly turns into an irrational maniac who wants to eat you. It just never gets old.

There's a really neat bit of business with a hole in the floor of the passenger area that doubles for a grave for the undead to crawl out of as well as being the punchline to some great sight gags. It's every bit as terrifying--maybe even more-so--than an open grave in a misty cemetery at night. There are nightmarish glimpses into the zombie-infested cargo hold, the usual taboo-shattering zombie ironies, surprises and pop-out gags galore and plenty of actiongun-playviolence and even stuff for airplane enthusiasts to enjoy. The actors are almost all from TV so there's an easy confidence to the characters, many of whom are recognizable names. The pace is brisk but not lightweight--even without knowing much about the characters you care about their plight and want them to make it. The timing of the "gags," both the funny ones and scary ones, is impeccable.

The only things keeping me from giving it a 10...some of the CG effects work is really...odd. It appears they didn't have the budget to pull off some of the things they wanted to do which is too bad. Most of the exterior plane shots have a weird "matte painting" look that may have been a styl istic choice but sort of goes against the grain of the rest of the movie, and the same with a few of the effects inside the plane too (most notably a character who is supposed to be on fire). It's the only place where the budget of the film shows. Having said that, the majority of the gore effects are alarming and wonderful, however. The other problem is it IS a bit on the light side, I'm not sure if I'd need to see this again and again like "Dead Alive" or "Shaun," it's got a bit of a video-game movie mentality, basically just a lot of action, and that doesn't always work well in repeated viewings.

However, this is the best new horror flick I've seen in a long time, the best new zombie flick I've seen in years and I can't recommend it highly enough to fans of the genre. I'm really excited that the door was left open for a sequel...keep 'em coming! We need more well thought outexecuted and fun movies like this!


Review by TonyDood from the Internet Movie Database.

 

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