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Marina Antunes [Film Festival 09.30.10] scifi thriller

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Year: 2010
Directors: Paul A. Birkett
Writer: Paul A. Birkett
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Marina Antunes
Rating: 4 out of 10

I wish I could say that award winning director Kaare Andrews‚?? first full length feature is a winner of a movie. I should have looked beyond Andrews‚?? name because with a script from Paul A. Birkett, I may have been prepared for what I saw yesterday afternoon. Warning: lots of spoilers ahead though it won‚??t matter. This is the sort of film you may need to see for yourself to fully grasp the zaniness. Not to mention that between the poster and trailer, the secret is pretty much out of the bag.

Altitude opens beautifully, going from the close quarters of a small plane to the confines of a bathroom stall. It‚??s immediately clear that Andrews and cinematographer Norm Li (who also shot the excellent 2008 drama Sheltered Life), are going to take full advantage of the opportunity of the small spaces for close ups and building of a claustrophobic environment (the latter is largely unsuccessful). The story is quite simple: a group of friends are headed to a concert and rather than drive, their newly licensed friend Sara, Jessica Lowndes looking and channelling a fair bit of Megan Fox, arranges to rent a plane and fly the group to their destination. On board are Sara, her cousin Cory, her best friend Mel, Mel‚??s boyfriend Sal and Sara‚??s very own loverboy Bruce.


The group piles in, takes off and all seems to be under control even if Bruce‚??s nerves are starting to rub everyone the wrong way. The semi-idyllic flight turns sour when the small plain enters a dark storm cloud which sends the instruments on the plane out of control and basically leaves the group lost in mid air. When bad turns to worse, a series of daring and stupefying events unfold: first they open the hatch to ditch some weight, then there‚??s Corey‚??s (he‚??s a free climber) mid air attempt to fix the tail wing while tied by a rope which is also anchored by Sal (he doesn‚??t even bother doing up the zipper on his leather jacket before exiting the plane which is going at god knows what velocity). By this point, I was incredulous. So this is definitely not going for ‚??realism‚?Ě and I was having fun with the B-movie plot and tepid acting when all of a sudden Sal is pulled out of the plane by something.

My first thought was ‚??did that really just happen‚?Ě followed a few minutes later by giggles when we see exactly what pulled him out: a giant flying octopus. It‚??s so gloriously awful I couldn‚??t help but crack up, uncontrollably falling into a fit of laughter. The story does try to save whatever it had going for it by introducing a laughable, half baked sci-fi mind answer to account for the flying octopus. For the next few minutes, I couldn‚??t help but think that wild sex 25,000 feet in the air would be the only way to save Sara and Bruce but sadly, this awesome possibility is overlooked and instead we get more bad action and self sacrifice to provide a saccharin ending even I couldn‚??t help but laugh at.

As bad as Altitude is, I can‚??t help but admire some aspects of the project. The cinematography is quite good as is the score and though the acting is, for the most part, regrettable, the film features a surprisingly good performance from Jake Weary in the role of Sal. Besides that, there‚??s little here to enjoy because the film takes itself so darn seriously for most of its running time, it doesn‚??t even qualify as fun monster movie but rather a misguided attempt at a monster movie.

Talk about a concept gone off the rails.

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Martin Evans (4 years ago) Reply

This movie is probably based on Sherlock Holmes author Arthur Conan Doyle's story, "The Horror from the Heights" which itself was based on some old odd cryptozoological observations, i.e., sky squids have been around for awhile.

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donc48 (4 years ago) Reply

I don’t know about sky squids I saw the trailer a couple of weeks ago looked fishy then.

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Anonymous (4 years ago) Reply

Damn I thought it would be Cthulhu in the Sky...

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Taylor (3 years ago) Reply

Hey i'll watch it Landon Liboiron is hot!


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