Every time I tell someone that I’ve never been on an airplane before, I get gasps of “how is that possible?” or “you must be joking.” No, I am not joking and it is very possible. Having never been on a plane myself, I don’t necessarily know how frightening of an experience it may be. The idea of being stuck thousands of feet above the earth with nowhere to go [but your destination, of course] holds the possibility of being a little scary. Add an element of the supernatural to that mix and now you have yourself a recipe for some real terror. That’s exactly what viewers get in Takashi Shimizu’s Flight 7500.
A plane full of passengers is traveling from Los Angeles to Tokyo. After a small bout of turbulence and the sudden death of one passenger, a series of increasingly eerie events begin to occur. The rest of the people aboard must figure out what is going on and fight for their lives to stop it.
Flight 7500 has a packed cast of performers, none of which who are a stranger to the darker side of storytelling. Ryan Kwanten (True Blood), Amy Smart (The Butterfly Effect), Leslie Bibb (Trick ‘r Treat), Jamie Chung (Sorority Row), Johnathan Schaech (Quarantine), Christian Serratos (The Twilight Saga, The Walking Dead), and an unrecognizable Scout Taylor-Compton (Rob Zombie’s Halloween) are the most notable and really make up the meat of this supernatural fright flick. Each delivered a great performance and helped to tell the individual character sub-plots very well, creating a greater sense of character development — something is that much-needed in modern-day horror films.
Directed by Takashi Shimizu, who also happens to be the man behind The Grudge (both the Japanese and American versions), Flight 7500 offers kind of a strange film experience. What I mean by this is while I was watching the film, I felt like I was missing something; They weren’t showing enough to the audience (me) and enough wasn’t being explained. At only 85 minutes, the film is rather short, so I thought to myself, with the way things are going, how could they possible wrap this all up in that amount of time? Then the last 10 minutes of the film roll around and everything falls into place. It all makes sense. How could this be? With an unpredictable surprise ending and superb writing, Shimizu and writer Craig Rosenberg were able to deliver what turned out to be a great horror experience.
Flight 7500 wasn’t without its flaws, however. Shimizu was able to set a perfectly eerie atmosphere, one that we have become familiar with over the years with his multiple successful projects, but this was somewhat bogged down by lackluster digital effects. What makes this issue even more frustrating is the fact that the worst looking effects are probably some of the easiest to re-create with practical work. I’m referring to the numerous shots of CGI smoke littered throughout the film. Smoke… really? You have to use CGI for smoke? Honestly, not the biggest deal breaker, but it does seem like a kind of silly thing to include in a film that actually has a lot going for it.
I can only think of a few horror films that deal with airplanes at all — Red Eye, Quarantine 2, The Horror at 37,000 Feet, and of course The Twilight Zone episode, “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” which is actually viewed on the plane by Ryan Kwanten’s character during this film. Even if you’ve seen all of those, I recommend giving Flight 7500 a try. It introduces the mythology of the Shinigami or Japanese “death dolls” and plays with the supernatural sub-genre in a fun and creative way.
Be sure to pick up Shimizu’s Flight 7500, available now on DVD and Digital HD from Lionsgate. I give the film 3.5 slimy gold Rolex watches out of 5.