Friday, January 16, 2009

Flight of the Living Dead

I received Flight of the Living Dead: Outbreak on a Plane as a freebie in the mail. Although I expected very little from it, I was surprised at how much my wife and I enjoyed it.

The basic premise/plot of the movie is right there in the title: On a trans-Atlantic flight, a group of unscrupulous doctors are transporting in storage a person infected with a virus that causes the infected individual to become a zombie. Fortunately, it is a smooth flight, nothing really happens, and the plane lands in Paris without incident. Ha! Of course not. The plane runs into bad weather, the containment system is breached, and soon the passengers are fighting for their lives against a growing horde of zombies.

There isn’t much original about the movie other than the location, but the familiar zombie tropes are handled well. In fact, the filmmakers seem to be giving winks at the familiar elements in the script. The pilot is about to retire after one last flight, a federal marshall is escorting a hand-cuffed prisoner, and, of course, there is a nun on board. (In movies, any airplane in peril has a nun as a passenger). The cast is stocked with a variety of talented characters actors such as Erich Avari and Kevin O’Connor, who you will recognize even if you don’t know their names. There is a good deal of humor, which doesn’t seem as forced as in most horror-comedies. It isn’t Citizen Kane, but why would you expect a movie called Flight of the Living Dead to be Citizen Kane? Recommended for anyone who wants to kick back, and have some zombie fun with their popcorn.

A quibble and a complaint.

The climax of the movie features the familiar explosive decompression, which as always goes on for minutes. It’s “explosive” decompression! It is over in a second, and then won’t recur with a new hull puncture. Everyone gets that wrong.

The complaint concerns sound, and isn’t directed at this movie, but at the DVD industry as a whole. Since getting a home entertainment sound system, I’ve come to appreciate DTS sound. No other sound system comes close. Few movies are presented with DTS, however, and this direct-to-video, low-budget movie is an exception. The sound is beautiful, rich DTS. My complaint is, if this relatively low-budget offering can appear on DVD in DTS sound, why can’t more of the big budget feature films?

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