Flight of the Living Dead (2006)

Plane Dead (click for larger image)Starring David Chisum, Kristen Kerr, Kevin J. O’Connor, Richard Tyson, Erick Avari, Laura Cayouette

Directed by Scott Thomas

Just when you’ve had it with these “mutherfuckin’ jokes on the mutherfuckin’ internet,” here comes the latest entry in the new-fangled ________s on a Plane subgenre. But don’t roll those eyes just yet…

Sure, it’s easy to shrug off Plane Dead as a low-budget Snakes on a Plane clone, but this isn’t some cheap cash-in bound for the airwaves of the Sci-Fi Channel. What you probably didn’t know was that this one was in development long before Samuel L. Jackson became famous as an aerial mongoose. And here’s the real shocker: Plane Dead actually tops Snakes in the B-movie madness department. It’s a faster, campier, and more entertaining ride that manages to throw out more loopy gags and over-the-top set-pieces on a mere fraction of the budget.

We all know science is good for two things: Finding cures and making zombies. Unfortunately, the latter occurs on a commercial flight from L.A. to Paris, where experimental cargo is being transported out of the country. A little turbulence later and the contents get loose, unleashing one seriously pissed-off fem-zombie who proceeds to make brunch out of the crew. Any horror fan worth their salt knows where it goes from there. Of course, evil high-ranking military officers know about the virus and get war-happy, so it’s up to the dwindling number of passengers to fight the zombie horde and regain control of the plane before they’re blasted out of the sky.

Plane Dead (click for larger image)Plane Dead makes more use of its aircraft setting than most zombie movies do with the rest of the world. The dead here are from the fast-moving school and they scurry through every nook and cranny of the plane, popping out of air ducts, crashing through floors, and vaulting over seats to snatch their prey. By the third act, there seems to be more zombies than initial passengers, but when there’s this much bloody carnage, does anyone really care? That said, this might not be the goriest zombie movie under the sun (there probably won’t be any struggle with the ratings board), but there’s still a heaping dose of the red stuff and the effects by Optic Nerve look pretty slick for the budget.

Snakes may have had the immortal “Bad Mutherfucker” leading the cast, but the ensemble in Plane Dead is a far more entertaining bunch. Included in the coach class buffet line are a group of mad doctors, several brain dead teens, a screeching nun, and a Tiger Woods-ish sports star who makes appropriate use of his nine-iron. Of course, the stand-outs are the two great character actors – Richard Tyson, playing up the part of an offbeat sociopathic FBI agent and Kevin J. O’Connor who delivers his impeccable comic timing as a wise-cracking convict. Overall, it’s a nice collection of quirky talents and all the characters feel like they’re straight out of a Larry Cohen flick.

It may not be a radical reinvention of the genre, but Plane Dead is pure midnight movie bliss; a rock-em-sock-em zombie shooting gallery that more than meets its quota for mindless mayhem.

4 out of 5

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Steve Barton

You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.