Flight Of The Living Dead

Flight Of The Living Dead


Reviewed by: Martin Gray

Sexy stewardesses. A cop transporting a felon. Newlyweds. A pilot on his last flight before retirement. Horndog kids. A sports star. A nun. Rogue mad scientists. A storm. A mystery cargo. Bad acting. Expository dialogue, as you know.

OK, there's no sick kid, but otherwise this has everything you could want from a film set in the air. Except originality. There's nothing you haven't seen many times previously; you could write the script yourself, so you hope the mix will be different. Well, that's where the zombies come in. Last time you saw the Generic Clichéd Passengers menaced, it was by snakes. Here, it's zombies and they come with a whole new set of (admittedly similar) rules.

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For example, where movie snakes always rear up and hiss before attacking, giving you a chance to shoot them, movie zombies rear up, go GRRRRR! and stand still so you can blast off any bits that haven't already dropped off. And zombie ladies have seriously bad hair.

Once the zombies start multiplying and eating the humans (they disapprove of the airline food, it seems) this is good, stupid fun, but it takes an age to get going, so when the captain says, “Great. No radio and this crap for the next hour . . . perfect!” you tend to agree.

But then, once the basic storyline has been established - there's apparently a stereotype convention in Paris - the fun begins. Zombies bite humans. Humans bleed. Humans fight back. Everyone runs around, falls down holes, crawls through a surprisingly large network of tunnels. Hundreds of bullets fly through the air. The hold is blown up and plane doors fly off, but there are no decompression problems until the very end.

Not that you should quibble about such things in a film about undead people; you go with it, or you'd not be in the cinema. And this is entertaining enough nonsense if you've nothing else to do, possess no TV, books, DVDs or dog to walk. Or it could be that you revel in the ritual, love the thrill of anticipating the guaranteed story beats of the genre. Zombie taken out with unusual weapon? Check. Spoilt brat teen gets just desserts? Yup. Head flies across screen? Sure thing.

Flight Of The Living Dead is hard to dislike. It is what it is, a daft splatter movie. The only thing that did annoy me was the inconsistency of tone - serious for long periods, then wacky for awhile, then serious again. I'd have preferred a basically serious movie with occasionally amusing bits to relieve the tension, but this has no tension - when it's not being funny, it's dull and earnest. Producer-turned-director Scott Thomas's inexperience shows here; hopefully he'll get it right for any sequel.

Most of the acting is, let's say, perfunctory, except for Kevin J O'Connor, whose criminal Frank is a dry delight throughout. The make up's pretty good and the effects are effective. Some Top Gun-style scenes don't work, looking like an Airfix kit flying over a shoebox Tracy Island, but the climax comes together nicely and proves surprisingly thrilling. When the film's going for straight comedy, it works a treat - there are at least two laugh-out loud moments, and I loved the zombie who was too dumb to undo his seatbelt and actually run after his food.

This isn't indispensable, but it'll tide you along nicely until the next “ . . . on a plane” film comes along. Vampires? Ninjas? Or, God forbid, an original idea?

Reviewed on: 24 Apr 2007
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Zombies on a plane.

Director: Scott Thomas

Writer: Sidney Iwanter, Mark Onspaugh, Scott Thomas

Starring: David Chisum, Kristen Kerr, Sarah Laine, Kevin J O'Connor, Richard Tyson, Erick Avari, Mieko Hillman, Dale Midkiff, Derek Webster, Ashley Bashioum, Siena Goines, Laura Cayouette

Year: 2007

Runtime: 94 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: US


Dead By Dawn 2007

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