October 10, 2007

DVD Review: Flight of the Living Dead - Outbreak on a Plane

Looking for a good zombie film? Well, keep looking. However, if you are simply looking for an entertaining zombie movie, this may very well fit the bill. Good zombie movies are few and far between, yet they remain a staple of low budget film making and will continue to do so for many years to come. If you are a fan of horror movies it is almost a requirement that you wade through a a waist deep pile of zombie movies, always searching for that elusive golden gem. Now, Flight of the Living Dead - Outbreak on a Plane is something of a gem. It has goofy dialogue, a ridiculous plot, and plenty of fluids. I remember when I first heard this title, I knew I had to see it. It is just one of those "can't miss" titles. When you hear it you have to see it, no questions asked. Seriously, it's zombies on a plane!

Last year brought us Snakes on a Plane which was a blast of a B movie that likely only got to the big screen because Samuel L. Jackson loved the title and wanted to be in it. With the moderate success of that film it was only a matter of time before similar movies and titles started popping up. Surprisingly, this particular zombie outbreak film was in production prior to Snakes. It also originally had the moniker of Plane Dead, which was clearly an inferior title. The marketing geniuses decided to re-brand the film and make a wonderful marketing driven cash in on Snakes on a Plane as well as the granddaddy of the modern zombie flick, Night of the Living Dead, and so Flight of the Living Dead - Outbreak on a Plane was born.

Let's set the scene. A plane is 30,000 feet up and bound for Paris and is carrying some very special cargo. In the cheap seats there is your standard assortment of brain dead teens, nuns, convicts, and criminals. Upstairs in first class are a group of scientists that are the reason for the presence of said special cargo. Now don't fret, you will get to meet each and every one of them. I am sure you could care less about the zombie fodder that litters the plane. Below the deck, down in the cargo hold lies a smoking container being guarded by a guy in a haz-mat suit with an automatic weapon.

Inevitably the plane hits some turbulence and the cannister is opened. Inside the cannister is a woman who stumbles out with a nasty headache. She is your patient zero. You see, the doctors in first class were behind a concoction that will cure any disease, but if that person dies, they will come back as nasty critters that desire human flesh. Mmmmm, zombies. Anyway, before long zombies are running wild through the aisles. The pop out of air ducts, through bathroom mirrors, up out of the floor and cause general mayhem.

If there is anything wrong with this movie it is the first half hour. It takes so long to get from the character introductions to the appearance of the zombies. It wouldn't have been so bad had the characters been not quite so bland. Still, once the zombies show up and what little logic there is goes out the window and the fluids are free flowing.

I believe this is the first zombie film that takes the undead to the skies. That right there is enough to get it some points. Secondly there are actually some nice kills here, particularly those involving an umbrella and a golf club. If you can make through the first half, you will be rewarded with an absolute blast of zombie mayhem, honestly.

While all of the subplots and character points that they so carefully play up in the first half mean absolutely nothing when it hits the fan. The script is essentially pointless words used to fill up time so that this is more than a mere zombie reel. In the end, that is all I really want is the zombie reel. You could effectively skip the first 40 minutes or so and pick up the story without missing a beat and you have missed the boring stuff. You will also learn that you can shoot weapons and set off explosions and not rupture the hull!

Basically, if you like zombie movies you will need to watch this. There is a lot of energy in the production, some inventive use of the claustrophobic set, some nice gore, and plenty of bad acting! Another plus is the score which makes nice use of cello as well as metal guitars.

Audio/Video. Considering the low budget roots, this DVD looks and sounds really good. The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and has sharp colors and nice definition. Audio is 5.1 Dolby digital and also does the good deed. Nothing to complain about with this presentation.

Extras. There are two commentary tracks. The first track is with director Scott Thomas and producer David Shoshan. The second track is with IGN. com editors Steve Horn, Eric Moro, and Christopher Monfette. This track is fun as these guys watch the movie and drink up. The final extra is a 3.5 minute gag reel with your standard collection of line and prop flubs.

Bottomline. Not a classic film by any stretch, but it really is a how plane load of fun. Inventive use of location, plenty of blood, and lots of energy. You won't remember or care about any of the human characters, but it doesn't matter. Watch and enjoy.



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