There is terror in the skies as a bunch of dumb teens discover there is more in those clouds than they could have ever imagined, in this dumb cheap horror…..
Being a horror film fanatic is hard. I mean we all go the mile to seek out an undiscovered gem, even if it means trawling through titles that many would put their noses up to. The writers at Hacked 2 Pieces have all made a vow to give their honest opinion when it comes to reviewing their films. We feel its best that our loyal readers know they can trust us even though there be many times that they themselves might not agree with our point of view.
When it comes to horror there are many films that have many levels of quality. There are films that are bad but watchable. Some so bad that we can only laugh at what we are seeing and then there are those that we can only weep at.
The reason I am saying this is because the film Altitude lands into my lap, a film that has been savaged by many critics who have seen it. Even when I put this on, I was worried that I may be in for another 90 minutes of my life which I would never get back, a horror that will suck the last ounce of air out of my body!
For a start, the film starts positive. We have a great sequence that sets the movie onto a great path. Set in the past, we see a young family take a flight on a small plane, the father sitting next to the female pilot and their young son sitting at the back with his mum. The conversation is normal and there seems no danger until the young boy starts trembling with fear, his eyes struck with sheer fright, he has seen something outside and before his parents can calm him, a plane out of nowhere strikes the side of their place. We then see which I thought was a great set-piece of the pilot falling to her death, a moment that made me actually sit up with interest, but the question you have to ask, did the film plummet like this poor woman after this great start?
We skip to the present time and outcomes the pretty gang who look as if they have just stepped out of an American Soap Opera. Sara ( Jessica Lowndes) is the daughter of the woman who we saw plunge to her death and like her has become a pilot. Taking her first solo flight, she agrees to take three friends to a rock concert, and before you know it, they are up in the air, totally unaware at the danger that is coming. Its this part of the movie, the build up starts to really test the patience of its viewer.
One of the friends, the simply named Sal ( Jake Weary) is nothing but an obnoxious character that you will feel no sympathy for. In fact when the danger occurs you want to be there and be the first to push him out. His foul mouthed talk and bullying tactics really makes him the most unlikeable characters in horror for a long time.
Its in this build up that you get the feeling of an Open Water style horror but in the Sky! The plane is high up, its the pilot’s first trip, and the other three are body meat for the disaster that is due to happen. But what is the horror that loom? Does the engine fail? Do they crash on a mystery Island? No, twenty five minutes in and we see storm clouds. Dark and gloomy and somewhat eerie, the plane flies straight into it and then the chaos begins.
Sara loses control of the plane, the radio signal is dead, and they keep on rising. Her boyfriend (sort of) Bruce ( Landon Liborion) starts to panic and loses control, muttering about a past that reveals a secret hidden from the gang, and just as it gets more chaotic, they spot something outside. There is something out there, following their craft. If anyone is thinking UFO then you be in for one great shock, for when revealed, you either laugh at the ridiculous idea or marvel at its B-Movie ambition.
Reviewing Altitude is hard!
For a start, I have seen some horrendous horrors in the past and this does not quite reach the depths that I have witnessed. What I liked about it is the attitude of first time director Kaare Andrews to give the viewer something that they have not seen for a while! Through out I could not get the feeling that this plays like an extended episode of The Twilight Zone, most notably the infamous episode Nightmare at 20,000 Feet. You can not deny that it was that blueprint that inspired this horror and is that a bad thing? Ok it comes off not quite as planned, the film for such a tight structure does not get the claustrophobic feel it should, and the one idea the film has, stretches badly at times, even resulting in some horrendous moments that border on stupid.
One scene I have to mention is when one of the gang decide to fix the problem of the engine and step outside! Now you 40,000 feet in the air and you decide to venture outside with only a rope around the waist as support. Idiotic and its moments like that that show the lack of ideas swimming around when writing this horror.
What I did like though is the resolution. The film goes from Twilight Zone to Creepshow in a matter of minutes, a cool turn that reminded me of horrors of past. But with this swift of turn, a tale of this needs a sting, a bite to remind you of the film long after the credits roll. For a moment I thought that we would get this. The film links present and past perfectly, but just as I thought “here we go!” the writers must have had a change of heart and the “impact!” which I expected and looked to be getting changed once more, and the film limps along to an unsatisfactory ending that made me weep!
And that is the major problem of Altitude, it has a good idea but gets it all wrong. Its not a bad film because it harks back to the golden horror tales of long gone, its just displayed in the wrong fashion. The acting varies from up and down, the script at times makes you shake your head and laugh along with scenes of stupidity, but again I did not hate this film.
Its probably perfect for a late night rental after a few beers, because its smacks of a guilty pleasure, a film that you’ll deny not liking to your friends.
For this critic, the horror fails to fly to the heights it should reach, with its pace stuck totally on auto pilot, but being a huge fan of that Twilight Zone episode, I kind of get what they were trying to achieve here, and if only they did not sell out with a cheap ending and stuck with what I thought was going to happen, then maybe, just maybe, Altitude would have soared……