When zombies begin running amok at 30,000 feet, the passengers must fight off the infected or join their ranks to become the world’s first all undead airliner.
So this is going to be the shortest review I’ve ever done considering the fact that the title is pretty much all you need to know about the movie. It’s called Flight of the Living Dead, you know what to expect. Just think Snakes on a Plane, only with zombies instead of snakes and one hundred percent less Samuel L. Jackson screaming about monkey fighting snakes on mountain climbing planes which is apparently a thing if you’ve ever watched the censored version of that movie. Flight of the Living Dead is one of those movies where you can look at the title and get almost everything you need. There is obviously a plane of some sort, zombies are going to be on said plane, and something is going to happen that will threaten to zombify all those on board. See, shortest review I’ve ever done. You don’t need to know anything else do you? Well, I guess you might want to know if I liked it, there’s that, and you might want to know if it was any good, there’s that too. Damnit, so much for the shortest review I’ve done, best get on with it then.
Our film begins on a plane, though I’m sure you’ve figured that part out by now, that’s entering some bad weather on its way to Paris. While the plane’s stewardesses are excited about experiencing the Paris nightlife, the pilots are a bit more worried about a mysterious biological cargo on board, a cargo whose owners are arguing over. It seems that they are worried about the ethics of something they’ve done, if an experiment to bring the dead back to life is worth the risk. After being introduced to some of the passengers, read zombie fodder, the plane hits some major turbulence, shifting the aforementioned cargo to reveal a very confused woman. At the Pentagon, a heated argument is forming about how serious a situation of some concern has become. It’s here that we learn the three men who were arguing about the ethics of their cargo are medical researchers who mutated the malaria virus in such a way that it kills living organs before reanimating them. The military was sent in to shut down their experiments, but before they could get there the researchers took their one successful test, the wife of one of the researchers, and escaped. Back on the plane, the confused woman, whom we now know as Mr. Researcher’s wife, wanders about the cargo hold until a guard that had been hired by the medical researchers puts a few bullets in her gut. This turns out to be a very bad idea when the woman reanimates with a vengeance and begins feasting on his tender human flesh, leading to a bite induced chain reaction as passenger after passenger ends up a part of the a very different kind of mile high club. It’s up to the few remaining members of the living on board to fight off the undead and figure out a way to escape the doomed flight, or at the very least take every zombie down with them.
Flight of the Living Dead may be a title that conveys everything you need to know about the film, but it’s also a title that doesn’t leave the viewer with much hope for what they’re about to watch. Not that one immediately thinks the worst when they read a title like Flight of the Living Dead, well, actually no, it does make one think the worst. I didn’t expect much more than predictable film with extremely unlikable or bland characters, poor attempts at humor, and zombies that looked like they were made from the left over contents of a Spirt Halloween Thrift Store. More or less I was right. There are a few good things that keep the film from being a complete waste of time, but otherwise it’s a fairly forgettable zombie flick that’s worth a onetime watch and that’s about it. Allow me to get the bad out of the way.
The first thing that will undoubtedly get on your nerves is going to be the unlikable stereotypes that flesh out the film’s cast of characters. It almost seemed like they spent a good amount of time going back and forth between 80’s action movies and 80’s teen movies when they were thinking of the types of people they wanted to populate their film with. The jock, the nerd, the quirky criminal, the hard ass cop with far too many tough guy one liners, they’re all here and ready to do their part towards making this film as predictable as possible, and trust me, this movie is incredibly predictable. You can expect to feel like some kind of fortune teller while you’re giving it a view as everything that happens can be guessed long before it happens, and I don’t mean in the way one can figure out the chain of events in most zombie films. No, I mean you can predict the specifics of what’s going to happen before those things actually happen. At first it was kind of humorous asking myself questions like “Gee, I wonder if that pro golfer who made a big deal out of carrying a golf club as a carry on is going to use it to kill zombies,” but it quickly stops being at all fun when it’s happened over a dozen times in the span of only a half an hour or so. It was ridiculous for a film to be that damn predictable, but even if it hadn’t have been it still would have been ruined by how awful the characters were. Besides being a cast of boring stereotypes that are next to impossible to root for, they also came across as being extremely idiotic and less than intelligent. It takes them forever to figure out that only headshots will destroy the undead, and even once they have figured it out, they still spend their time firing wildly, and firing wildly on a freaking plane no less. You’d think they’d want to be a little more cautious, but then again, caution doesn’t seem to be a concern with any of them as they all run blindly towards their own deaths at the hands of the undead. The only character that was at all interesting, the only one I found myself caring about, was sarcastic Frank (played by Kevin J. O’Connor), a prisoner that was being transported to his new permanent home when problems arose aboard Dead Air. Sadly, while I had hoped his side story was going to play a bigger part since they put a lot of emphasis on what it was that got him in trouble in the first place, his story instead simply peters out as little more than filler to make for a longer run time.
So what was it that saved Flight of the Living Dead from the bottom of the barrel when it comes to zombie flicks? Simple, it showcased some great effects throughout. Not only do the zombies look great, but the blood and gore is gorgeously done and amply provided. You can expect to see people thoroughly destroyed in a multitude of ways, and whether it’s them being torn apart, chewed up like raw meat thrown to a pack of dogs, or eviscerated, it always looks disgusting and amazing. Though even this one compliment comes with its own set of complaints from yours truly, two to be more specific. One thing was the contacts. It’s becoming more and more common place for zombie movies to use these ridiculous looking bright glowing contacts for the undead, and I don’t understand it because they look silly. Flight of the Living Dead chooses to use these same contacts, and it looks just as ridiculous as ever. My other issue was the damn screeching the zombies made. The whole movie they make screeches similar sounding to the vampires in 30 Days of Night, and it sounds just as lame as it did in that movie. The zombies could have been great had it not been for the cartoonish contacts and unnecessary screeching.
Flight of the Living Dead isn’t the worst zombie film I’ve seen, but it sure as hell isn’t one of the better ones either, not even one of the more okay ones. It’s worth seeing for the great effects work, but that’s about it.
The Undead Review
Directed By: Scott Thomas (Latin Dragon, Anacardium)
Starring: David Chisum (One Life to Live, Dark Mirror), Kristen Kerr (Finders Keepers, Summoned), and Kevin J. O’Connor (The Mummy, Deep Rising), and Richard Tyson (Black Hawk Down, Kindergarten Cop)
Written By: Sidney Iwanter, Mark Onspaugh (Kill Katie Malone), and Scott Thomas (Latin Dragon, Anacardium)
Released By: Imageworks Entertainment International, Pacific Entertainment Group, and New Line Home Entertainment
Release Year: 2007
Release Type: Straight to Video
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Rotten Heads: Two Heads Out of Five