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Overall Rating

Awesome: 5.56%
Worth A Look50%
Average: 38.89%
Pretty Bad: 5.56%
Total Crap: 0%

2 reviews, 6 user ratings

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Flight of the Living Dead: Outbreak on a Plane
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by Jay Seaver

"Good enough for business class."
4 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2007 FANTASIA FESTIVAL: The punny title of "Flight of the Living Dead" tells you exactly what you're in for, so the only question is whether or not it delivers the goods. It does a pretty good job on that account, hitting every item on the zombie movie and airplane-in-danger movie checklists and doing well by them.

Concord Airlines's flight from Los Angeles to Paris has everyone you'd expect on a plane-bound thriller - a pilot making his last trip before retirement, a cop transporting an international fugitive, some horny college kids, a famous athlete and his cranky wife, some pretty young flight attendants, and even a nun. There's also a refrigerated container under armed guard in the cargo hold which, as you might imagine, involves a virus that can reverse massive cellular damage... with side effects, of course.

Don't look for a whole lot of new zombie ground to be broken here - you're looking at basic yellow-eyed, rapidly decomposing, shrieking flesh-eaters. If I had to answer "fast or slow?", I'd go with fast, although it's not really that important; they seldom need to cover a whole lot of ground. Bullets knock 'em down, but nothing short of a head shot or decapitation really seems to stop them. Similarly, if you've ever seen an airplane-in-danger movie, you know communications with the ground will be knocked out, there will be a terrible storm, someone on the plane is actually an air marshal, it's a bad idea to fire a gun unless you know for damn sure you're going to hit your target but a good idea to have an extra person who knows how to fly a jet along And I don't think I'm giving much away to say that at some point, near the end, a compartment will lose cabin pressure. These are all things that have to happen.

Director Scott Thomas and his co-writers get that, though, and they handle it just right. They give the audience a moment to laugh in recognition when Raymon J. Barry's Captain Bashore makes the comment about it being his last flight before retirement, but they don't pretend that their recognition that certain bits have whiskers on them makes them particularly clever. Indeed, they go out of their way not to say "zombie" or have characters recognize that they're in a stock horror movie situation, even though anyone with any pop-cultural awareness could hardly help but do so. In-character banter aside, they're playing this straight.

They're also doing it on something of a budget, so a lot of the cast is made of of people who kind of remind the audience of someone else. David Chisum, for instance, is kind of the middle ground between Firefly's Nathan Fillion and Galactica's Richard Hatch; kind of nice, moderately sarcastic, and a little weathered. Kevin J. O'Connor is a good foil for him as Frank, the fugitive he's taking in, more than a bit fey but not overplaying it. Heidi Marnhout, Mieko HIllman, and Kristen Kerr are charming as the flight attendants. Richard Tyson does good buddy-cop stuff with Chisum, while Todd Babcock and Raymond J. Barry are fine as the pilots. Erick Avari, Dale Midkiff, David Spielberg, and Laura Cayoutte are a nicely contentious group of scientists.

Don't get too attached to any of them, though - once you get a zombie outbreak going on something as small as a plane, the majority of the couple dozen speaking roles are going to be reduced to shrieking roles. The production uses liberal amounts of fake blood and does some fairly decent zombie makeup. There are some odd choices and missteps - I don't see the point of CGI fake blood, I could have sworn I saw two characters taken out early (in a fairly surprising way) only to have them show up fine a few minutes later, and the CGI/model work on the plane isn't quite state of the art. When Scott and company get down to the reason that the audience is there - zombies running amok with nowhere to run - they're on top of things. There's plenty of good splatter to be had here, and there is a feeling that no-one is safe.

"Flight" doesn't quite have the raw cool that Samuel L. Jackson injected into his plane-in-danger movie, but it's got a firmer had on making its campy elements work for it. This movie seldom deviates from its flight plan, but I like the way it gets there.

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originally posted: 07/08/07 22:38:37
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Fantasia Film Festiva For more in the 2007 Fantasia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: Fantastic Fest 2007 For more in the Fantastic Fest 2007 series, click here.

User Comments

8/27/18 Mark Louis Baumgart Return of the Living Dead on a plane. Love the toothless zombie. Fun stuff. 5 stars
3/01/08 Ivana Mann Hilarious gorefest. "Return of the Living Dead" for the 21st century! 4 stars
12/09/07 David Pollastrini good gore and a new concept for the zombie flick 4 stars
11/09/07 Colin Astro I liked this one. Up there with "Planet Terror" and "Resident Evil:Extinction".GREAT STUFF! 4 stars
10/18/07 Brad Surprisingly decent, especially given the "joke-of-the-month" title. 3 stars
7/10/07 Georgi Petrov Good if you need to kill a few hours 2 stars
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  02-Oct-2007 (NR)
  DVD: 02-Oct-2007



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