I know what you’re thinking. From the same studio that made Snakes on a Plane comes another horror movie about some kind of creatures on a plane? Yes, it’s true. While New Line didn’t make the film, the only have local release rights, and while you roll your eyes and wonder why, I’ll be sitting back and laughing. Because, yes, while the film is remarkably bad, it is done so in a way that I believe was on purpose. Heavy rock music combined with zombie killing action…if they weren’t so serious in the film, I would have sworn this was some kind of spawn of Shaun of the Dead.
On a flight from Los Angeles to Paris, the jumbo 747 is already in trouble when it comes into the middle of two massive thunderstorms and the turbulence ends up setting free a deadly container that resides in the hull of the airplane. While the container has an armed guard on it at all times, the guard is not able to contain the subject when she breaks free. Despite putting a series of bullets into her, she comes back and begins feasting on his flesh, the side-affect of a deadly genetically engineered virus. The virus, meant for military use during war, the virus infects the host and is transmitted through the hosts saliva and blood. Soon the 747 becomes a feeding ground and men and women alike, even a nun, are overcome with the desire for flesh.
Now, had this movie been made in a way that it took itself seriously I’d tell you to scoot along your merry way right now. It’s evident, however, straight from the opening titles with the heavy metal soundtrack that we aren’t in some big, dramatic zombie film. The movie knows that it’s ridiculous and embraces it. This becomes even more evident when the blood starts to splatter in a spectacularly gory fashion.
The film isn’t graced with a plethora of well known actors and truth be told, I recognized only Erick Avari from his roles in the Daredevil film and the TV show Heroes. The rest of the cast seems to be relatively unknown, although none of them were horrible actors—the dialogue was needlessly cheesy to begin with, so it’s not a big surprise that it’s delivered that way.
Also surprising were the special effects. I mentioned the gore, which was fantastic. The blood spray, especially on some of the zombies that jumped and attacked passengers, was just hilarious to watch. On top of that the CGI was rather decent looking as well. The exterior 747 shots flanked by jets, while obviously fake looking in some way, was a lot better looking than you’d imagine. One thing is for sure—while movie budgets go down, the ability of what people can do with computers has gone up and it’s increasingly evident in these low-budget films that can make their budget work for them.
On a similar “effects” note, all of the zombies looked great but Erick Avari’s character really stood out when he went into zombie-mode. His face was downright disturbing and when his legs become detached at the end of the film he’s one of the more unsettling images from the film as he crawls across the screen.
Having said all of this, watching the film alone will get dull after one viewing. The film is best viewed with groups, so that you’re able to fully appreciate the film. There is never anything particularly scary in the film (except maybe the vent crawling scene—but you knew a zombie would pop up in there at some point anyway) and it’s more just a general gore fest. Don’t let this deter you though—if you’re a fan of the genre, then definitely give this one a look. It was really made for fans of zombie films and while it’s not an instant classic, it does put the zombies in a new setting for a little while. Recommended.
For a film that I hadn’t heard of until it arrived at my door, I was rather surprised with what the DVD had to offer. Of course the extra squishy skull swag that accompanied the review copy of the DVD was a neat bonus, even if it is slightly bewildering as there were never any full skulls on screen.
The DVD itself comes in a standard amaray case with fantastic cover art and disc art that is equally as gruesome. Inserts include advertisements for other New Line titles and a Fangoria subscription flier. Menus are easy to navigate and look great.
On the video and audio front, this release was also surprising. The video was crystal clean and clear and looked great throughout the film. No compression or combing was evident and the DTS track was simply amazing. The thunder in the film, the gun shots…everything was felt thoroughly with the DTS track. Definitely made the film more enjoyable, especially when the rock/metal music kicked in and made things more frantic. Dolby 5.1 and 2.0 tracks are also included along with English and Spanish subtitles.
Moving onto the extras we find a pair of commentaries and an outtake reel. The first commentary, with director Scott Thomas and producer David Shoshan is about the only behind-the-scenes information you’ll get on this release and it’s a solid track through and through. A few dry moments here and there, but the track does a great job at making up for the lack of behind-the-scenes featurettes, which we honestly didn’t need on a film like this. Cramped spaces, first time actors and plenty of blood spraying—not too much there to tell.
The second commentary track features editors from IGN.com. Why? Well as they explain it, they’re there for fan perspective. They do a great job too, providing plenty of moments where they mock what’s going on screen and point out what films Flight is ripping off. They even get into a drinking game halfway into the film when the zombies continually pull passengers into lower decks to feast. They keep a tally of the body count and the track is just a great listen. If you don’t have buddies around to watch it a second time with, flip this track on—it’s not the best replacement, but it’ll do until you can rustle up a few friends to fully appreciate Flight of the Living Dead.
The final extra is an outtake reel. There aren’t so many outtakes here as there are improvised lines by the actors. There are a few flub ups here and there, but for the most part it’s just the actors goofing around on the set. One cool thing about the outtakes, however, is seeing the original title of the film, Plane Dead on the markers. Yeah it’s a horrible title, but hilariously so. I almost wish they kept it in there somewhere…perhaps instead of the “Outbreak on a Plane” subtitle.
There are a handful of trailers for some other New Line releases as well as a BBC title and a video game trailer. I started watching the majority of these trailers until it eventually devolved into a giant mess of random videos—not sure how a video game trailer got in there, but whatever.
In the end the extras match up with the film remarkably well. This release isn’t something that deserved a big two-disc release or intricate extras. It’s a mindless zombie film that will no doubt entertain you from beginning to end. There is little character setup that goes on in the beginning of the movie before we get to the zombie carnage and from then on there’s a solid hour of gore and mayhem on screen. For the fans of the genre, this release comes Recommended. Those looking for a truly scary movie should look elsewhere—there’s nothing here that will make you jump, but plenty to make you laugh and munch on some popcorn.
Flight of the Living Dead: Outbreak on a Plane arrives on DVD on October 2nd.