Stars: Ryan Kwanten, Amy Smart, Jerry Ferrara, Scout Taylor-Compton, Christian Serratos, Leslie Bibb | Written by Craig Rosenberg | Directed by Takashi Shimizu
Whenever a movie sits on the shelf for more than a couple years before being released, it’s hard not to wonder if the reason is because it turned out poorly. But when you look through the history books, or run a quick Google search, you’ll realize that many exceptional horror movies have languished in pre-release hell over the years. Films like You’re Next, The Cabin in the Woods, and Trick ‘r Treat took their sweet time entering our lives, and the same can certainly be said about Flight 7500 (formerly 7500).
But was this one worth the wait?
Written by Craig Rosenberg and directed by Takashi Shimizu (The Grudge), and originally set for release way back in 2012, Flight 7500 centers on the passengers of a doomed flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo. Shortly after hitting a bumpy patch of turbulence, an American businessman violently dies in his seat, kicking off a series of potentially supernatural events that include a complete loss of oxygen in the entire plane – nearly killing everyone on board. What the hell is going on up there? That is the question.
To say any more about the plot of Flight 7500 would spoil the fun of unraveling the mystery, as it’s a film that’s entirely built around a final act reveal that serves (or at least tries) to answer the questions presented throughout. Rather than feeding us information before the characters get a chance to learn it, Rosenberg and Shimizu instead opt to keep us as in the dark as they are at all times, and though that admittedly makes this flight a bit of a bumpy one – whenever things start to happen, for example, Shimizu cuts away and leaves us wondering – it also lends the film an enjoyably intriguing quality.
While Flight 7500 may be more about the destination than the ride itself, that’s not to say the ride isn’t a fun one. For a contained thriller that runs less than 80-minutes long, there’s a surprising level of character development going on aboard the titular flight, and that’s unquestionably the film’s strongest suit. All of the main characters, and there are a good number of them, each have their own individual stories that are introduced before the plane even takes off, and there’s more to most of them than initially meets the eye. Even small character moments go a long way in service of the big reveal.
Speaking of the characters, they’re almost all played by familiar faces, and the cast is all around quite impressive for a movie of this sort. Ryan Kwanten (True Blood) and Amy Smart (Mirrors) play a young couple on the verge of splitting up; Jerry Ferrara (Entourage) is the husband of a spoiled bride-zilla; Scout Taylor-Compton (Rob Zombie’s Halloween) is a death-obsessed goth with an unexpected thirst for life; Christian Serratos (The Walking Dead) is a young woman who fears she’s pregnant; and Leslie Bibb (Trick ‘r Treat) is a flight attendant having an affair with the pilot. None of the actors get to do all that much, but the characters are interesting enough to keep the film engaging throughout.
If they don’t knock the ball out of the park with this one, and the concept is admittedly not well executed enough to make it a standout genre effort in this year or any year, Rosenberg and Shimizu at least craft an engaging little thriller that would be a serviceable episode of a modern day Twilight Zone revival. Sure, the whole thing hinges on an overplayed reveal that would’ve been a whole lot more effective 10 of 15 years ago, but as far as high-altitude horror movies go, Flight 7500 gets the job done.
Just be sure to hit the STOP button on your remote before an unnecessarily tacked on scene at the very end nearly kills what is otherwise a perfect final moment. I think it’s time we retire the “one last scare” horror movie ending, and Flight 7500 makes a damn good case for how damaging that silliness can be.
In any event. Give this one a shot. It may surprise you.