Review Date: March 13, 2000
Director: James Wong
Writer: Jeffrey Reddick, Glen Morgan, James Wong
Producers: Glen Morgan
A high school kid aboard an airplane to France freaks out when he has a premonition about the plane's deadly fate once airborne, and gets himself and a few friends kicked off the airlines. It is only when his prophecy becomes reality a few minutes later, that the handful of survivors suddenly find themselves in an adversarial position against death, who apparently doesn't take too kindly to folks bailing out on his cataclysmic plans.
Creepy, dark and unlike many of your standard teen slasher flicks that have been tossed our way over the past few years, this movie combines an original and realistic premise, a quick pace, many gruesome and creative death scenes and a pretty cool ending, if I don't say so myself. Were there many "stock" characters ready to die like in many of these other thrillers? Well, not really, but I will admit that there was one dude who was pretty badly written and did piss me off with his unrealistic attitude throughout most of the film (without naming any names...Carter), but on the whole, the rest of the kids were decent with the highest kudos going out to Devon Sawa in another solid leading role. He truly bit into this character and delivers an effective portrayal of a kid who finds himself fighting the battle of his life...against death! This film's first 15 minutes are probably its creepiest, with quick cuts, tense moments and a dark, rainy night adding a real authenticity to the proceedings, and having me think twice about ever flying again. This got me hooked.
After that, the film does wind into a pretty basic routine of a "killer" on the loose with only the order of the victims to be determined, and yet, this film didn't allow itself to be trite or boring at any point. In fact, the killing scenes are probably some of the most original that I've seen in years, and plenty of back-end intrigue via the FBI agents following the case, the twists and turns discovered by Sawa's character and the general intelligence of the script take this film above and beyond most of the teen hokum out there. Granted, I thought they could have spiced up the FBI agents a bit, and certainly removed an entire scene featuring Tony Todd from CANDYMAN fame essentially reliving his role from that film, but all in all, the film's originality, dark undertones and solid performance by Sawa won me over. Also, it was nice to be scared by something that you couldn't really "see" for once in a horror film (I guess that's how most people felt about BLAIR WITCH...an overrated movie in my opinion), and be spared the two-bit special effects gallery. And if you thought the last shot from BLAIR WITCH was a keeper, well, let's just say that this one goes out with a bang! A real scream... :)
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian