Plot: After a mysterious malfunction sends their small plane climbing out of control, a rookie pilot and her four teenage friends find themselves trapped in a deadly showdown with a supernatural force.
Not hearing too much about this film, aside from having seen the poster, I knew next to nothing about it. The poster, however, featuring a small plane climbing into the dark abyss of the sky escaping what appears to be large tentacles is what intrigued me and my curiosity peaked as it was reminiscent of a modern day Lovecraft-ian image . Still, my hopes were not too high with this film and wrote it off as just another direct-to-video movie that will probably fail to entertain. How wrong I was!
Directed by first time feature film director, Kaare Andrews and written by Paul A. Birkett who is no stranger to the direct-to-video and TV market, Altitude was without a doubt a nice surprise. The film stars Jessica Lowndes, Julianna Guill, Ryan Donowho, Landon Liboiron, and Jake Weary. Sure it had a couple of flaws, in particular, the dialogue which I thought was abysmal at moments and the transitions into scenarios were quite abrupt and sometimes unwarranted. I did, however, find the story to be interesting despite the dialogue.
The film itself is not very scary and I felt that it fell into the category of “we’re stranded in this situation now how the hell do we get out of it!” right in between Open Water and the recent Frozen except that in Altitude reality is certainly suspended. As far as the scare factor, I wouldn’t bank on it much as it was really not that scary aside from the fact they are caught in quite the predicament over 15,000 feet in the air, oh, and there is something out there with them.
The characters in Altitude featured what many would consider to be cliche. By this I mean there is the A-hole tough-guy jock and his semi-prissy, blond girlfriend, the cool “I want him to survive” musician guy, the “damn I want this guy to die” guy because he is A.) useless and B.) mysterious/annoying in a “I’ve got issues” way, and then there is, of course, the heroine of the film. So, I really wasn’t too fond of the characters and could care less about them.
As far as the performances are concerned, I wouldn’t say that they were all that bad, but they weren’t great either. For the most part I was not convinced that their lives were in danger simply because their performances didn’t convey fear enough to my liking but there were moments just didn’t think they fully reached them. There were definitely some tense moments where I found myself saying to no one in particular, “Oh, hell to the no!” What did they do that I would probably never do? Well, I’ll let you watch as I don’t want to ruin it. I will say, however, that it was a moment where belief had to be suspended, pun intended. There were a couple of moments like this in the movie but I found myself forgiving them because I was enjoying the film. Aside from other worldly events, the characters had to deal with each other with real world scenarios that added to the drama in such a confined space.
There was some back-story that I initially thought was unnecessary and a character who I thought was not really needed as the movie could have worked without him. However, in the end I understood why he was in the film and it made sense… kind of. The “reveal” was interesting even though they kind of give it away in the trailer but kind of made me go “Hmmm, interesting.” In other words it kind of steered into that direction I didn’t want it to go, but, thought rationally and was possibly the only way to explain it. I’m not one for explanations as I think when something just is or the answer to the why is just because can be just as scary as it lets my imagination run wild and allows some use to my brain. Having said that, the why had to be answered so that the ending they chose to go with could work. Was I happy with the ending? Egh, it was OK; didn’t love it, didn’t hate it but I did feel a bit cheated by it.
Stupid moment in the film, well, the fact these guys are all trusting a friend who just acquired her pilots’ license to fly instead of driving to go to a concert! Hmmm, I think I’ll feel more comfortable driving unless you have years of experience flying! (Disclaimer: I am afraid of flying!)
I’d say give it a watch but don’t expect to see a classic film. Rather, be ready to slap your foreheads a couple of times, roll your eyes and be entertained with a thriller reminiscent of a long episode of the Twilight Zone. If you’re looking for gore, look elsewhere. Take note that the entire film takes place inside a small airplane so just a heads up if you’re claustrophobic.
*** out of *****