Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Thursday, October 31, 2013


Altitude (2010) Canada Made For TV

Isn't it weird when you find a film out of nowhere that you've never even heard of and it turns out to be better than some of the newer horror films released in theaters? Especially when you find out it's a Canadian film made for television. Huh. Maybe you United States movie makers should watch and take notes. Nah, they'd just copy the damn thing practically word for word. But I'm telling you, I'll be ripping this apart because hey, that's my job but I did really pay attention because this was different, kind of inventive and for television. A TV movie. Here in the States a TV horror movie usually means they take two ordinary creatures, mesh them together, find some worn out actor or singer from the 80's and boom, a movie.

I'm exaggerating? Okay, here's some titles of some REAL TV movies: Dinocroc, Dinocroc vs Supergator, Dinoshark, Frankenfish, Ghostshark, Hybrid, Komodo vs Cobra, Mansquito, Megapython vs Gateroid,
Piranhaconda, Sharknado, and Sharktopus. So far. I'm sure the SyFy channel has a couple hundred more coming to a cable channel near you - if not, you're lucky.

Prologue to the movie: A woman pilot is taking a family to their destination. The family has a young child who is petrified with fear. The parents try to console him to no avail. He seems to be staring out the window at something - everyone turns to look and there's an airplane coming straight at them and BOOM...

Now we have a group of 20-somethings who are flying to a destination to see Coldplay. That should be an instant death sentence right there. The pilot (in the land of incredible coincidences) is the daughter of the doomed pilot we saw in the prologue. The others are your regular assorted unlikable characters. The pilot has a boyfriend, and also of course one friend she's had for a long time who's always had a crush on her. Natch. So they take off and the camera keeps focusing on a bolt, just to let you know that something is going to happen I guess 'cause they show the same damn picture of the bolt a hundred times.

The boy with the crush on the pilot is Bruce and he is terrified of flying. As a favor of, I dunno, letting him see there's nothing to be scared of, the pilot (Sara) lets him sit up front. We get the usual beer drinking, hand held camera garbage and everybody going nuts every time there's turbulence. And the bolt. That damned bolt. Sara, not the sharpest knife in the drawer decides to further 'help' Bruce by letting him take the controls. Now the DUH factor is on full throttle. He, of course, chokes (small engine humor) and the plane goes into a dive. 

The description for the movie will tell you he takes it into a climb but I know the difference between up and down so... yeah. The other idiots of course scream at both of them which makes things worse and Sara finally takes the controls back to level the plane but the bolt finally comes loose and jams the elevator so the plane just keeps climbing. The what? I don't know small aircraft so: Elevators are flight control surfaces, usually on the tail of an aircraft, which control the altitude. This was funny - when I wiki'd this 'elevator' and got the definition it says it controls the planes' ATTITUDE. I gotta get me one of those and attach it to my hubby.

Suddenly air turbulence gets worse and there's a storm ahead. Sara reveals that not only is she not instrument certified (that means she can only fly when she can physically see the ground), but no one knows that they are going to the concert by plane - Sara had told her father she was driving - he doesn't even know she has a pilot's license. AND they've lost contact with ground control AND the plane won't stop climbing.

Hmm, Snakes On A Plane, Zombies On A Plane, Idiots On A Plane. I see a pattern. Whoops, no sorry, this is something else on a plane. Since we are in the land of incredible coincidences, one of the idiots in the plane is an experienced climber so he believes he can use a rope to get himself to the tail and... what? Stomp on it for a while? Meanwhile they left with only half a tank of gas (?!?) and so in order to conserve fuel they throw out all their stuff. And Sara. Nah, just kidding but hey if I had found out my pilot only half filled the tank before takeoff...

The climber gets to the tail and kicks it a couple of times, apparently dislodging the bolt. But before he can get back A GIANT SQUID COMES OUT OF THE CLOUDS - SOMEBODY CALL THE SYFY CHANNEL! I'm not kidding folks, that's what happens - a giant tentacle reaches out of the clouds and grabs the climber. The person holding the rope is forced to cut it or get yanked out himself.

Bruce, who had been rendered unconscious by the others 'cause he was a major douche, wakes up and confesses his fear comes because his folks died in an airplane crash piloted by, in this land of incredible coincidences, Sara's mother. They tell him of the monster and he thinks a moment, and picks up a comic book that Sara had given him. He collects them. It's one of those old issues of horror tales (this one is made up - called Weird Stories) and it's valuable - that is until the drunk douche rips out a page. 

Now it's junk. He straightens out the ripped page and what do you know? It shows a tentacle coming out of the clouds. Now he's getting the idea of what is going on. It's the why he's puzzled by. Shoot, my worksheet (patent pending) is already out and mostly filled. I was going for an all-casualty type of movie but I had to adjust that a bit...

The drunk douche, after being confronted about cutting the rope and letting the other guys die, argues until ah rats, he's sucked out of the door and we're another douche down. Now we get an explanation, sort of, but it's severely flawed. Bruce tells Sara that when's he's really stressed or scared, what he's thinking of really happens. When he was little he had seen a photo of another airplane on a magazine and, scared to death, brought it to reality where it crashed into them (they don't explain how the hell he could survive the crash) and that's what is happening now - he's causing all the nastiness with the storm, the monster, etc.

Okay, that's... almost interesting but severely flawed. When he was small he was in an airplane and scared and just because he saw another airplane on a magazine he freaked and caused a crash? And as for 'causing' the giant squid... Sara had just given him the comic book as a gift - he hadn't had time to read it yet. So how the hell did he know what the story was about? But... this WAS made for TV and on the cheap and yet it was still better that some big money productions so I can bitch, but not too loudly.

Sara's big idea when she finds out he's a mental maniac is to tell him to just imagine this all never happened. Umm, what? Are we really going to have one of those 'restart' movies where it goes in a loop? Bruce tries but being a douche and a very scared little douche, things get worse and the airplane is out of control. 

So Sara kisses him. Kiss of death? Nah, this time it's the kiss of incredible coincidence, because all of a sudden the storm disappears and so does the giant squid. But Bruce is slow, but not stupid. He figures Sara only kissed him to make him imagine everything normal and so here we go again. But no squid. Sara fights for control of the airplane... and sees up ahead another airplane and they're gonna hit. Guess who's in THAT plane? No, c'mon, guess. Oh, please?

Of course it is the plane from the land of incredible coincidences with Bruce, his parents and Sara's mother. Somehow, Bruce and Sara are able to control the plane enough to make it a narrow miss. Now history has been changed. It reminded me of the Family Guy episode Back To The Pilot when Brian and Stewie go back in time to the very first episode but of course the past (and future) gets all messed up and Stewie finally has to fix it by making sure the first couple to come back goes right back home. He then tells Brian the time line they are in has been erased and so they will disappear too. Brian asks if it will hurt - Stewie says, "A little."

Oh I'm sorry, got off track again. So instead of fading away, the scene just kind of... ends. The next scene is of Sara's mother landing safely with her passengers and meeting up with her family. Sara runs and hugs her mother and is introduced to Bruce. Sara and Bruce say hello to each other and then hold hands, looking up into the sky. We're left to wonder whether they have any memory of what happened.

Okay, this wasn't so great but hey, for a TV movie this was pretty darn good. The acting was irritating, the effects pretty cheap (fog goes a long way in keeping the audience from seeing the studio around the plane prop) and the story flawed but still not a horrible ride.