Notable Cast: Jessica Lowndes, Julianna Guill, Ryan Donowho, Landon Liboiron, Jake Weary
Review: Scared of flying? That won’t matter because this movie is just too stupid for its own good. Altitude has no idea what it wants to be. One minute its a crappy teen drama, the next its a monster movie, then the rest it’s a groan inducing supernatural thriller. Holy sh*t just pick one. At least then it could have focused and done one of the aspects right. Instead, Altitude mashes together too many ideas that were stretches to begin with to create a truly muddled and uninspired watching experience. In fact, its downright boring for a “thriller.” Too much talky, not enough action. Plus ever hear the saying “Everything that can go wrong will go wrong?” Well Altitude just piles on the toppings to our travelers crap sandwich, throwing problem after problem their way. And when the writers ran out of mechanical problems, they turned to the numerous emotional problems these troubled teens had. These kids needed to be on Maury, not trapped in a metal sky coffin. All that aside, Altitude was nothing but a bore, becoming silly and predictable instead of achieving the cleverness it aspired to.
Sara (Lowndes), the daughter of a Colonel, is setting out to fly her and four friends to a Coldplay concert in California (she got what she had coming). She just recently acquired her pilot’s license, so this was to be her first real excursion. Her mother was also a pilot, but was killed in a collision while flying a family home, causing Sara to want to conquer her fear. With her is her boyfriend Bruce (Liboiron), cousin Cory (Donowho), friend Mel (Guill), and her boyfriend Sal (Weary). Once in the air though, things start going down hill. First, a screw wiggles loose and jams in the gears for the elevator, causing the plane to keep increasing altitude. This causes the small aircraft to fly right into a gigantic storm cloud, only increasing the turbulence. The problems keep mounting for our doomed travelers, until the biggest one is revealed: there is a giant creature floating in the clouds with them. Not only does Sara have to figure out a way to stop the mechanical problems, but also has to babysit her friends and avoiding becoming a flying monster snack. Pressure much?
But in all seriousness, there’s just too much going on to be able to stop and enjoy Altitude as a whole. A majority of the movie is spent listening to the most irrational group of high schoolers ever put on camera. They’re stuck in an airplane facing certain death, but these guys are still worried about whose in love with whose girlfriend and making fun of the kid who reads comic books. Priorities please? Act rationally for someone who’s about to die? You really want to spend what could be you last hour of life playing the blame game for your predicament? It was flat-out annoying listening to the whining, just as was my complaint in Legion. Well written conversations are one thing, as in a Kevin Smith film, but when most of your film is full of boring second-rate dialogue, you’re losing the viewers interest right there.
Then we switch into the monster movie section of the film. First off, we meet the monster thanks to an amazingly unbelievable attempt at survival involving one of the kids tied to a rope hanging out of the door of the airplane behind the plane in a severe storm cloud. HANGING OUTSIDE OF A PLANE TIED WITH A ROPE STOMPING ON THE ELEVATOR! Blah, whatever, past that. In that scene, the creature, best described as the flying spaghetti monster, is just floating ominously in the background. Don’t expect to see much of him, either, even if he is pictured on the poster. The spaghetti monster is a problem maybe 10 minutes of the whole film, and a pretty boring monster at that. He screws with the plane, pops his tentacles in a few times, and looks menacing. The rest of the time the kids are fighting a malfunctioning plane, and that’s it. One minute the elevator is broken, the next the gas is running out, then the steering feels loose, then the ice builds up, then the doohicky isn’t connected to the whatchamajigger…you get my point. It never stops, and all the while, the old flying octopus just lets the kids do enough damage to themselves and watches the show.
Then, when you think there’s no hope for the survivors, the film takes a Shyamalanian twist, and fails just as hard as Shyammy would. Out of nowhere, supernatural powers and time travel are freakin’ brought into the movie and Altitude just gets trippy. Not in a good way though, in a roll your eyes this makes zero sense at all kind of way. In a wow all this could have been solved at the beginning of the movie kind of way. Why did the person wait till the end of the movie to reveal his situation? And seriously, could the character be any more of a wimp? It’s explained that he can basically right the situation just by thinking, but apparently he can’t even win a battle with himself. Too many idealistic plot lines that just don’t have enough thought put in to make them actually believable/conceivable/interesting.
If you’re looking for a monster movie, you will be sadly let down. If you aren’t looking for a supernatural thriller…SURPRISE! If you hate stupid teenagers talking about their relationships that you don’t care about, get as far away as possible. If you hate the sound of all those things, buy a copy of Altitude when it’s in the bargain bin in the very near future, and watch it melt in a fire for your sick twisted viewing pleasure. There is a reason this baby never saw the light of main stream theaters. For such a simple story, there is way too much going on to make it enjoyable. It’s too serious, too clichéd, and too predictable. This all coming from the man who owns every Feast film and loves everything horror. I can usually find something to like even in the worst of horror/thrillers, but Altitude really made it a challenge.
Final Rating: 4 flying spaghetti monsters out of 10