Flight of the Living Dead: Outbreak on a Plane DVD Review
Written by Daniel Benson
Released by New Line Home Entertainment
Directed by Scott Thomas
Written by Sidney Iwanter & Mark Onspaugh
2007, Region 1 (NTSC), 94 minutes, Unrated
DVD released on October 2nd, 2007
David Chisum as Truman
Kristen Kerr as Megan
Kevin J. O'Connor as Frank
Richard Tyson as Paul Judd
Erick Avari as Dr. Bennett
Derek Webster as Long Shot
Todd Babcock as Co-Pilot Randy
Siena Goines as Anna
Mieko Hillman as Stacy
Raymond J. Barry as Capt Banyon
Sarah Laine as Cara
Next time I fly anywhere, I’m going to be sure to book my ticket on Concord Air. Their economy-class cabins are huge, the planes fly a quarter full and the stewardesses dress like sluts and flirt with the passengers. Add to this their planes are so well insulated, you can’t hear any engine noise, and they have to be the best airline in the sky.
They have a small problem with dead bodies coming back to life and eating people in the luggage hold, but these things are to be expected when you carry top secret, crazy scientist, bio-weapon projects on a civilian aircraft.
Exploiting the recently conceived ‘bad stuff on a multi-passenger transport system’ genre, New Line brings us Zombies on a... sorry, Flight of the Living Dead: Outbreak on a Plane, to give it its full and rather verbose title. And despite what you might think, replacing snakes with zombies to mimic a recent hit movie, works really well.
FOTLD conforms to all the flight-based-peril movie pre-requisites; the staff think it’s going to be a quiet flight because there aren’t so many passengers, there’s an unusual item being carried in the hold, there’s a storm brewing and one person thinks it’s their final flight because they’re retiring, not because they’ll be dead. There’s an accompanied prisoner, who’ll turn out to be a good-egg and, oh yeah, there’s a nun on board.
Once the storm kicks in it causes some ‘shakes on a plane’ and the haz-mat suited guard in the hold takes a tighter grip on his sub-machine gun. It’s a sad indictment on manufacturers of mad scientist project containers that they can’t make the things more robust for transit and true to form there are flashing red lights and shooting gas leaks as the contents are released.
But wait. This is not a slavering beast intent on eating human flesh. This is a young woman, a scientist, confused and vulnerable. She doesn’t know where she is, and how she got there. So haz-mat guard does what anyone would, when faced with such a foe. He pops a cap in her ass. And not just one. And not just in her ass.
The science project turns out to be a newly modified strain of the malaria virus that re-animates bodies after they die. Bad move on the ass-capping, haz-mat dude, now she’s a slavering beast intent on eating human flesh. I’m not quite getting the relationship between malaria and cannibalistic undead, but this is movie-land so we’ll gloss over that part. You know the rest, and before you can say “Stewardess, this man is gnawing my leg”, the whole plane is overrun with zombies.
The blood runs freely, as zombies pop-out from every conceivable, and inconceivable, hiding place. They come through the walls, the ceilings, and the floors, and they run riot in the aisles. Didn’t they see the ‘fasten seatbelt’ sign? Even the poor old nun gets it, becoming the rope in a zombies vs. humans tug-o-war set piece. The humans win, well they manage to save everything above her knees, resulting in her becoming... nundead. Thanks. I’m here all week.
FOTLD is an enormous amount of fun, the special effects are great, and the zombies look awesome with yellow contact lenses and lots of blood dripping from their overactive mouths. Pacing is pretty solid, with the early minutes holding the attention well before it all kicks off. Credit to the filmmakers, they have made really good use of their budget and the result stands head and shoulders above many of its peers.
You couldn’t possibly expect to take a movie called Flight of the Living Dead seriously, and because you don’t expect much it provides maximum entertainment. In the same way that Snakes on a Plane was escapist nonsense, this is the same nonsense, with zombies. For a horror-fan that makes it a must-see.
Video and Audio:
The 1.85:1 video presentation is clear and rich in colour. No obvious glitches or damage as one would expect of a modern movie with a good transfer.
The 5.1 audio track is perfectly clear and lends itself well to the action. Frequent use of the rears during the attack scenes, and the storm create a convincing sound field. The only thing lacking is the constant drone of the plane’s engines, there were times it sounded just too quiet.
When I first played the FOTLD I found that the title menu didn’t become active until I’d hit the ‘menu’ button on my remote control. I don’t know if my copy was from a bad batch or if it is a common problem with this disc, but it certainly made things frustrating trying to start the movie.
The features list includes two commentaries, outtakes and sneak peeks. It remains to be seen if they are any good as I couldn’t access them through the disc’s extras menu. I’d spent enough time cocking about trying to get the film to play that I wasn’t going to spend any more time begging this disc to let me see its contents.
The lack of functionality really let the disc down.