Directed by Dominic Burns
Distributed by Image Entertainment
I can write about a movie I love at some length. If a movie has worked well, then I can delight in praising its various aspects. Likewise, it’s easy to drone on and on about a film I loathe, simply because I feel the need to exact some sort of revenge on a flick that has cost me my time and patience. Good or bad, great or terrible, both types of reviews are fairly easy to put down on paper in short order.
And then… then there are movies like Airborne. Neither good enough to praise nor bad enough to vilify, Airborne is a movie that defies you to spill an appropriate amount of ink on it. The effect of watching and reviewing a film like Airborne isn’t unlike having a tooth professionally removed. Sure, it’s not as though there’s a great deal of pain involved, but you really just don’t wanna be there.
The film opens with a single flight departing Britain in the middle of a raging storm. Once the plane is in the air, we meet the various characters who will populate the rest of the film. Some are likable, some are assholes, and all are fairly uninteresting. When the passengers begin to vanish one by one, our remaining heroes discover that there may be a conspiracy afoot. A conspiracy involving potential terrorists and a priceless Chinese vase held in the plane’s hull, which may very well lead to the end of the world. Or something.
This movie is about as horror as Die Hard. There are zero genre elements to be found in the film’s first hour, with the exception of an early half-hearted kill and a weird “wobbly” image effect that reminds one of the cue given in old sitcoms that a flashback or dream sequence was approaching. I’d be fine with the lack of horror throughout so long as the story is intriguing or the payoff is decent. No such luck on either count.
The story is both derivative and deadly dull, bringing to mind any number of Syfy Channel Originals. Hell, I take that back. A Syfy flick would at least attempt to be fun. Sadly, there is no fun to be found here whatsoever. The movie trails from scene to scene with practically no momentum, none of the characters are particularly interesting, and the “climax” and final twist are just awful.
Mind you, the movie isn’t entirely without merit. While the characters are all cardboard-thin, the actors all do their best with what they have to work with (not much). Hamill, in his brief amount of screen time scattered throughout the film, creates a believably weary character with his unwitting flight controller (who contributes nothing to the plot). His opening voice-over gives one hope that we’ll be getting a good movie and that he’ll be the lead. Sadly, neither comes to pass. The rest of the cast does an admirable job, but they cannot elevate the film beyond its ho-hum script.
To be fair to the director, the film is quite well shot, and there is the occasional bit of energy sprinkled throughout. I wouldn’t mind seeing another film directed by Mr. Burns provided he has another solid cast and a better script to work with.
Image has given this flick the dump onto DVD it deserves, presenting it with a perfectly adequate image and decent sound. The bonus features are non-existent, however. Seriously, there is nothing in the way of extras here. And you know what? I suppose that’s just fine. I don’t know if I needed to see a making-of or listen to an audio commentary concerning the production of this film.
Folks, listen: There are far, far worse films out there. Even so, Airborne doesn’t deserve your time. Life’s too short, and there are much better films out there to check out. So do yourselves a favor: avoid.
No special features.
Nothing. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
Not a damn thing.
1 1/2 out of 5
0 out of 5
American Psycho Meets Creep – Strawberry Flavored Plastic Review
Starring Aidan Bristow, Nicholas Urda, Andres Montejo
Directed by Colin Bemis
Recently I wrote up an article here on Dread Central which was basically an open letter to anyone who was listening called “I Miss Found Footage.” Well, it seems like someone WAS listening, as I was then sent the link to an all-new found footage film called Strawberry Flavored Plastic from first-time writer-director Colin Bemis.
The film follows the “still-at-large crimes of Noel, a repentant, classy and charming serial killer loose in the suburbs of New York.” Basically, you could think of the flick as American Psycho meets Mark Duplass and Partick Brice’s Creep. That, or you could think of it as “Man Bites Dog in color!” However you choose to label Colin Bemis’ psychological thriller, just make sure you check out the film once it hits in the future.
As I alluded to above, the film is basically a found footage version of American Psycho. But that said, the film sports a twist on the charming serial killer subgenre that I have yet to see play out in any of the above-mentioned classics. I’m not going to go into spoiler territory here, but I will say that the film introduces an element to the tale that spins it into much more of a character drama than a straight horror film. Not that there is anything wrong with that!
Truth be told, the film’s turn from serial killer flick into a layered character study might have been its kiss of death, but this slight genre switch is rendered a minor issue as the film’s central narcissistic antagonist is played by Aidan Bristow. Bristow is an actor you may not have heard of before this review, but you will hear his name more and more over the years to come, I promise. The guy gives (no pun intended) a killer performance as the film’s resident serial killer Noel Rose, and time after time surprised me with how chilling, charming, or downright vulnerable he chose to play any given scene.
Bristow’s performance is, in the end, the major element the film has going for it. But that said, as a fan of found footage, I was smiling ear to ear at first-time director Colin Bemis’ understanding of what makes a found footage suspense sequence work.
In Strawberry Flavored Plastic director Colin Bemis is confident and content to allow full emotional scenes to play out with the camera directed at nothing more than a character’s knees. Why is this so important? Because it keeps the reality of the film going. Too many found footage directors would focus on the actors’ faces during such emotional scenes – no matter how contrived the camera angle was. In this film, however, Bemis favors the reality that says, “If you were really in this emotional state and holding a camera, you would let it drop to your side.” I agree, and it is small touches like that which make the film feel authentic and thus – once the shite hits the fan – all the scarier.
On the dull side of the kitchen knife, the film does feel a bit long even given it’s short running time, and there doesn’t seem too much in the way of visceral horror to be found within. Again, graphic blood and gore aren’t a must in a fright flick, but a tad more of the old ultra-violence would have gone a long way in selling our main psychopath’s insanity and unpredictability. But all the same, the film does feature a rather shocking sequence where our main baddie performs a brutal home invasion/murder that puts this film firmly in the realm of horror. In fact, the particular POV home invasion scene I’m talking about holds about as much horror as you’ll ever wish to witness.
In the end, Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic is a must-see for fans of found footage and serial killer studies such as American Pyscho, Creep, and Man Bites Dog. I recommend giving it a watch once it premieres. If only to be able to point to Aidan Bristow in the near future and tell all your friends that you watched (one of) his first movies.
Lead actor Aidan Bristow turns in a star-making performance in Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic, a found footage film that plays out like Man Bites Dog in Color before introducing a new element to the charming-serial-killer subgenre and becoming more character study than a straight horror. Think American Psycho meets Creep.
Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 148 – Inside (2017 Remake)
We’ve all heard the old saying, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Well, I’m here to tell you that’s only partially true. It seems there is a third certainty that had been omitted from the original quote, “It is certain, if you enjoy a movie, at some point someone will remake that movie.” Now is the time when one of my favorite movies gets reimagined, “for an American audience”.
In the late 2000’s an explosion of “French extreme” horror films was released. Martyrs and or High Tension can often be found on any number of lists of the “most fucked up horror movies ever”. Unfortunately, the vastly superior Inside is often forgotten (as well as Frontier(s), but that’s a whole ‘nother rant). Now, ten years after it’s initial release, Inside has been Americanized. Don’t worry, we watched it so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.
Mommy says you’re not dead. Is that true? It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 148!
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Totem Review – It’s Not Always A Bad Thing To Look Up From The Bottom Level, If You Like That View
Starring Kerris Dorsey, James Tupper, Ahna O’Reilly
Directed by Marcel Sarmiento
Following the untimely death of a family’s matriarchal figure, a young woman finds out that managing to hold all of the pieces in place becomes increasingly more difficult when otherworldly infiltrators make their presence felt. We’re going to have to work our way up this Totem, as
17 year old Kellie is the leading lady of the home following the passing of her mother Lexy, and with a needy father and tiny tot of a baby sister, she still keeps things in working order, regardless of the rather large hole that’s been left in the dynamic due to the death. Kellie’s dad after a while decides to ask his lady-friend to move in with the family, so that everyone can move onto a more peaceful existence…yeah, because those types of instances always seem to work seamlessly. As fate would have it, Kellie’s sense of pride is now taking a beating with the new woman in the mix, and her little sister’s new “visitor” is even more disturbed by this intruder – only question is, exactly who is this supernatural pal of sorts? Is it the spirit of their dead mother standing by to keep watch over the family, or is it something that’s found its way to this group, and has much more evil intentions at hand?
What works here is the context of something innately malicious that has found its way into the home – there are only a couple moments that come off as unsettling, but the notion of having to weave through more than half the film acting as a sullen-teen drama is rather painful. The presentation of the “broken family” is one that’s been done to death, and with better results overall, and that’s not to say that the movie is a complete loss, it just takes far too much weeding through at times stale performances and even more stagnant pacing to get to a moderately decent late-stage conclusion to the film. Under the direction of Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl), I’d truly hoped for something a bit more along the lines of a disturbing project such as that one, but the only thing disturbing was the time I’d invested in checking this one out. My best advice is to tune into the Lifetime channel if you want a sulky teen-melodrama with a tinge of horror, or you could simply jump into this one and work your way up…but it’s a LONG way to the top.
Sulky, moody, and ridden with teen-angst buried in the middle of a supernatural mystery – SOUNDS like a decent premise, doesn’t it?
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