Starring: Devon Sawa, Ali Larter, Kerr Smith, Kristen Cloke, Daniel Roebuck, Roger Guenveur Smith, Tony Todd
Director: James Wong
It’s a bunch of teenagers, a horror premise and a set of elaborately mapped out deaths – oh joy!
When Alex (Sawa – “Casper”, “Now And Then”) experiences pre-flights nerves before a senior school trip to Paris, he puts it down to his own natural fear of flying. But a premonition of a huge explosion on board the plane prior to take off, freak him out and the subsequent scene he causes sees him thrown off the plane along with some of his friends – Tod (Chad Donella), Carter (Smith), Clear (Larter), Valerie Lewton (Cloke), Billy (Seann William Scott) and Terry (Amanda Detmer).
As they sit in the departure lounge, the plane does indeed explode in front of their eyes. Instantly, Alex becomes a suspect in the eyes of the FBI (Roebuck, Guenveur Smith) and his nightmare is only beginning. After effectively cheating death, death does not intend to give up. The Grim Reaper begins to come for the souls he missed out on and Alex is in a race against time to save his life and the lives of his friends.
With an interesting storyline like that, it seems the perfect opportunity for the writers to explore the psychological affect on the main characters of waiting for the imminent arrival of death. Sadly, they miss the opportunity with a capital M.
It’s real C or D-list stuff here. There are no familiar faces and the mediocre performances are not helped by the cliche-ridden and cringe-worthy script. Admittedly the opening scenes aboard the plane are pretty exciting and sets the movie up nicely. From there, things go downhill pretty fast. The characters are remarkably unremarkable. Sawa does his best, but he is hamstrung by some unbelievably embarrasing lines. On the other end of the scale, Larter deserves to be strung up – an annoying 21st century version of Molly Ringwald if you like.
Wong directs pretty well, and produces some fairly interesting moments including one marvellous “holy shit” death scene. The problem lies with the under-developed subject matter. We could have had a lot more insight into what it was like to sit there and wait for death knowing there is nothing you can do about it, but that is not the direction that the script took.
Also look out for a cool appearance from Tony Todd, the Candyman himself!
But this is one desination that you should avoid.