Flight of the Living Dead (2007)

Flight of the Living Dead (2007)

Un-Dead at 30,000 Feet.

A scientist on the run from the CIA is secretly transporting a body infected with a genetically modified virus in the cargo hold on a flight to Los Angeles. The plane flies through a violent thunderstorm and the container carrying the body is damaged, allowing the infected zombie to break free and start spreading the virus to the other passengers. With no way out of the plane, the survivors have to band together and fight for their lives.

 

Zombies on a Plane would be a more fitting title as this highly entertaining film takes its cue from Snakes on a Plane, just replacing the snakes with flesh-eating zombies. And it works brilliantly, perhaps even more so than Samuel L. Jackson’s tad-disappointing box office hit. I would just like to say that this was in production before the other one so there’s no real sense of copying, just major similarities.

The plot is simple – throw a bunch of characters onto a plane and unleash the zombie hordes against them. Before you can say “fasten your seatbelts” this flight has already taken off. Well maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement because the good stuff doesn’t kick in for a long time. Yes, a few dudes get eaten in the luggage compartment but it’s not until around the fifty minute mark before the zombies break free of their confinement and let loose the dogs of war. But once they do, expect everything and anything! Until then, we’re safely in ‘getting to know you’ mode with the characters.

There’s a great ensemble cast too with a load of familiar faces popping up to fulfil these roles. Kevin J. O’Connor adds some great comic relief as the prisoner. Richard Tyson adds the meat as the air marshal. You’ve got Erick Avari as the mad scientist (he is one of those guys no one knows the name of but pops up in loads of massive blockbusters). Even guys like Raymond J. Barry are on hand – another of those guys you’ll know the face but not the name of. Granted the characters aren’t the best and apart from one or two, most of them don’t get a lot of screen time in the build up to the carnage. I can’t really say you sympathise with anyone here but it’s not like you’re rooting for them all to die either as there are a few likeable characters.

I’d love to fly on one of these planes. They always seem to be half-empty so you’ve got plenty of leg room (a must-have when you’re a 6ft 5in guy like myself) and they’ve also got hot-as-hell stewardesses who wear short skirts and continually flirt with any single male passengers. I’m not trying to pick faults with the script but everyone on the plane has some sort of social problems. There’s the prisoner and his escort. You’ve got cheating boyfriends and girlfriends. There’s a world-famous golfer with his sick-of-fame wife. Not forgetting the air marshal who is too quick to pull the trigger. Oh, don’t forget the weary pilot who is on his last flight before retirement. And of course, the mad scientist and his associates. There are a lot of characters lurking around on the plane and even the ones who don’t speak like the nun and the Asian businessman seem to have character quirks to them. This is no ordinary flight.

I think using zombies on the plane works a lot better than snakes. The threat seems a lot more real and dangerous. And of course you can have things like the zombies punching holes through the floor and dragging people to their deaths which snakes can’t do. The plane seems more claustrophobic than in Snakes on a Plane simply for the fact that zombies are a lot bigger and harder to hide from. Until I watched these films, I never knew planes could be so big! I know there are a few liberties taken with facts for the sake of the film but still, there are a lot of places for the zombies to feast in. The gore is plentiful and the zombies here get creative. I’ve already said they drag people to their deaths but there’s so many other ways the zombies strut their stuff that it becomes nerve-wracking not knowing how the next victim is going to be killed off. It can come any time and anywhere on the plane.

Above all, the film looks like it had a pretty decent budget which really helps. I was expecting one of those home-video style disasters that seem to pop up with cool-looking cover boxes. So it was a very pleasant surprise to find this as good as it was.

 

Flight of the Living Dead is a must for zombie fans. It’s entertaining, it’s got a few shocks and it punches above its weight with the gore and violence. If you can take the plausibility with a pinch of salt and unplug your brain, then you’re in for a great time. I wish there were more as-easy-to-watch films as this but they just don’t make many of them nowadays!

 

 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 

 

 

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