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DVD Review

DVD cover



Starring: Jessica Lowndes, Juilianna Guill, Ryan Donowho, Landon Liboiron and Jake Weary
Anchor Bay Entertainment
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 15
Available 14 March 2011

A group of teen friends fly a twin-engine aircraft to a Coldplay concert, but they soon hit major problems when the plane flies into a heavy storm, which then affects the instruments. They have no idea at what height they are currently flying, and emotions run high at the knowledge that they will run out of fuel and inevitably die in less than an hour. But there is something unnatural about this electrical storm...

My word, this is awful. It can best be described as all bark and no bite. You might think that a script of impending doom for a group of characters rattling about in one small set, might make for a taut and claustrophobic atmosphere. Hmm... It doesn’t. There’s a lot of shouting and accusations, but very little actually happens. The characters are so bland that even the boy teen that the entire story hinges on spends half the film infuriatingly silent, half the film tied-up and unconscious, and the final half looking eminently bored by the fact that he can influence events and should therefore have made the film more enjoyable. Yes, I realise that’s three halves, but that’s how many films it felt like I was watching.

Originally, Altitude was going to be a mega-low budget project by book writer and illustrator Kaare Andrews; however, the film was picked-up and lavished with cutaway sections of aircraft and green screen storm effects, which are unvarying and therefore soon become tedious. Special effects don’t make a movie; they are intended only to enhance the reality within an exaggerated scenario, so a tighter psychological terror script - perhaps with some back story, so that we get a break from the same visuals - would have been an improvement.

It makes me smile when movie promoters invoke classic film and TV in order to sell their product. You can’t blame them, I suppose, but it means that here we have Donnie Darko mentioned because it has a time-related story involving an aircraft disaster (a superb film which this one shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same breath as), Final Destination (ditto, and ditto), and The Twilight Zone, which obviously makes reference to Nightmare at 20,000 Feet. Perhaps they should have mentioned Airforce One, Passenger 57, and Airplane for no good reason other than they are set for the most part on a plane. And talking of plain (you see what I did there?), it is... very.

’Special’ features include a director’s commentary, a behind-the-scenes documentary, the Green Storm featurette and original concept gallery.


Ty Power

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