Notable Cast: Samantha Lester, Melanie Lyons, James Lyons, Abigail Schrader, Melanie Lyons, Brendan Patrick Connor, Samantha Sloyan, Ken Garcia
Review: Never before have I actually regretted paying to view a film. Never. I can even justify bottom barrel bargain bin wastes most of the time based on cheap price. But 7$ On Demand for Area 407? Even a Red Box $1 one night rental would be worse than taking a $2 bill and inserting it directly into a shredder. Did you know Area 407 was shot in 5 days and the actors ad-libbed most lines? Phew, Ok, I knew there had to be a reason something could be so amateur. Actually, statement retracted, because that would be an insult to first time directors everywhere. Area 407 takes the cake on independent horror gone terrifically wrong, trying cash in off of the handheld camera phenomena. But Fabrigar/Wallin do NOTHING to advance the genre, and instead beat the hell out of overused clichés. In a nutshell, Area 407 consists of blurred views and characters screaming “WHAT IS THAT!” as they vanish off-screen one by one. Direction was atrocious offering shallow characters, rambling dialogue, shaky-cam antics, zero build up, and agonizing creature execution. Every derogatory word to be used against a film fits here: Boring, Tension-less, Predictable, Wit-less, Aggravating, Scare-less, Anti-Attention Grabbing, Flat, Action-less…the list scrolls on. I respect IFC Midnight for giving lesser known horror films a chance at mass exposure and only hope they continue dredging the horror circuit, but I’m surprised the worst horror film I’m going to see all year was found in their catalogue and not floating about the internet. My will is strong and I still powered through an excruciating 90 minutes, but Area 407 didn’t deserve a single minute of that unjustified viewing. Oh I’ll tell you why…
Sisters Trish (Schrader) and Jessie (Lester) board a cross-country flight to LA after a Christmas vacation. Trish sports a video camera, as the budding pint size documentarian pesters every single passenger on the flight. While approaching their destination, a patch of turbulence shakes the nerves of those on the plane. The stewardess attempts to calm her guests, but the turbulence quickly turns from mild to life threatening as the plane starts losing altitude. Crash landing in what seems to be some desert area, the sisters awake to find a few passengers still alive as well. Among them are photographer Jimmy (Lyons), Air-Marshall Laura (Lyons), overweight complainer Charlie (Connor), stewardess Lois (Sloyan), and Tom (Garcia). The group search for help, but discover something is hunting them at the same time. Survival no longer means just making it home now, as making it home in one piece becomes the new goal.
If I just hide in this turbine…
Alright, let’s get this over with. Spoilers will absolutely follow. So where to start with this awful, horrible, no good excuse for media. First off, the improv aspect. Works with a comedy like The League, so why not horror, eh? Because of Area 407, that’s why. Repetitive lines and inexcusable delivery infected the film like a deadly plague. You would think such a decision could lead to realistic reactions and moments of actual fear reflected in each performance. Quite the opposite actually. Instead we get actors literally stumbling through lines barely mustered up with zero gumption and scene after scene of our confused cast shouting over one another in a fight for screen time. Honestly, any conversation just turned into distracting uncontrolled chaos even lacking realistic fluidity a normal conversation would possess. Charlie (Connor) was most annoying in this aspect, playing an unnecessary bad guy who for no reason would lash out at other characters to an extreme extent. Numerous instances could have used a cut sign from either director as dialogue clumsily pressed on, but poor directorial vision turns Area 407 into a messy, convoluted mish mosh of cardboard characters and zero grade script skills as a result of barley writing one.
Now, what about the horror? It’s still pretty easy to score jump scares using a first person camera angle as cheap a tactic as that is. But, Area 407 remained lacking even the smallest scare based on non-existent creature tactics. You never fully see the beast tracking our survivors, which we assume is a velociraptor based on a quick snout shot and another quick tail glimpse. But when characters died, the low-budget caused each death to be boring and unimportant, only aided by each character’s unlikable qualities. Example: Charlie. Pan to Charlie “I’m just going to the bathroom.” Random character “Blah blah Blah.” Turn back to Charlie: Gone. Seriously? No blood. No guts. Just somebody there and gone. Every. Single. Time. That is the horror in Area 407. A quick camera cut. No gore, no suspense, just here is Charlie: and now he’s gone. Abra Kadabra! Wow. Not to mention, whenever the “creature” showed up, he was a different height and different build. In ending, a character is killed by the “beast” while its tail is shown above the three food high window placement on an SUV. Earlier, a silhouette of the head is shown in a house window much higher. How scared can you really be of a monster who adjusts its height based on the camera angle? Area 407 plays horribly to every horror aspect, failing to bring out even the easiest bit of enjoyable horror.
Area 407 sucked. Area 407 sucked on a level not thought suckable. I timed how long it took for something exciting to happen, and 35 minutes slowly chugged by before there was any looming danger even present. Thirty-five minutes and all I witnessed was Charlie being a wanker and other characters raising their voices at each other. Whine whine, bitch bitch, please God make this sh*t end. Area 407 is the perfect example of exploiting a genre. Exploiting to the extent of “Hey, here’s something filmed on a camera, it might be what you consider a movie.” It isn’t. Watching this piece of garbage bored me to tears, accepting my fate much to early for a film to surrender. Can’t believe I’m saying this because I feel like I have a knack for digging up a least one golden moment in any film: I hated Area 407 with every ounce of my soul. Terrible acting, abysmal direction, vomit inducing cinema, and the worst attempt at watchable entertainment seen in 2012. But at the end of the day, Dale Fabringer and Everette Wallin have another view and a few more bucks pocketed. Who’s laughing now, I guess?
Final Rating: 1 terrible velociraptor CGI concoction out of 10
PLEASE GOD! DON’T WATCH THIS! FOR ALL THAT IS HOLY!