Monday, September 27, 2021



Logistically, it must be pretty tough to set a movie entirely in an airplane. You can't just use one out of rotation as a set, and building interiors that need to feel cramped but offer enough room for a camera crew can't be cheap. So while the glorious possibilities of claustrophobic tension and fiery crashes should be a no-brainer for the horror genre, I imagine budgetary restrictions limit our output to the handful of plane-set genre flicks out there. 

It's a shame, because as the overrated Snakes On a Plane, underrated Flight of the Living Dead, and barely rated Quarantine 2 show us, trading out a summer camp or apartment complex for 45 ton capsule of metallic engineering will always make things a bit more interesting. 

Quick Plot: A credits sequence gives us glimpses of a serial killer's souvenir collecting, but put a pin in that: it's time to board the redeye from LAX to JFK.

We get sprinkles of conversations that introduce us to the passengers and crew: a newlywed couple with incoming in-law drama, a returning army veteran ready to reunite with his family, an armed air marshal, rookie co-pilot, sweet flight attendant, sassy flight attendant, and to kickstart the plot, token "there's a man on the wing of the plane!"-guy whose fears seem completely out of line.

I mean, there's no one on the wing of the plane: it's a batch of female ghosts haunting the airplane restroom, of course!

Welcome to Flight 666, the rare original non-mockbuster produced by The Asylum Studio, with a cast and crew of Asylum veterans who clearly know how to make a movie on the cheap. It will likely shock you to know that Flight 666 is, well, fine. 

There's nothing terribly scary about the CGI toilet ghosts, but when you see "The Asylum Studio" float by in the intro, savvy genre fans will inevitably lower their expectations at the same ratio that the price of a water bottle increases the minute you step foot in an airport. 

But for all of their Atlantic Rims and Titanic 2s, any Asylum film's quality is ultimately in the hands of its filmmaker, and on more than a few occasions, the people behind the camera clearly care about the final product. Flight 666 is directed by Rob Pallatina, an editor who has 71 credits to his name since 2021. Take THAT, Thelma Schoonmaker!

Yes, those credits include titles like Pool Boy Nightmare and 2, 3, & 5-Headed Shark Attack.

And yes, I instantly Googled "4-Headed Shark Attack" and thank the kind folks at Reddit for answering what must be a commonly asked question.

I can't speak to Pallatina's other 5 directing credits (which seem to involve more Nazis and killer doctors than shark heads) but as a debut, Flight 666 suggests solid workmanship. He wrangles a large cast to deliver perfectly decent performances, and makes acceptable use of B-level CGI. The screenplay (by Jacob Cooney and Brandon Stroud) is shockingly patient, taking a good hour to reveal its ghostly secrets and giving us something of a surprise with its villain reveal. 

No, Flight 666 isn't Shakespeare or, say, Hereditary, but it's an adequate time waster that makes the best of its limited resources. There aren't many other haunted-house-on-a-plane movies, so if that's an itch you've had, this might be the only viable scratch. 

High Points
It's so easy to rile up your conflict by including the token a$$hole in your ensemble, so credit to Flight 666 for managing to avoid the usual eye-rolling arguments and allow its cast to mostly function as we'd imagine human beings would in the situation of, you know, being trapped on a haunted plane

Low Points
The flip of the above statement is that none of the passengers are especially interesting

Lessons Learned
First class passengers are extremely cooperative and will have no objection to moving back to coach if the air marshal asks nicely

The word "terrorism" just gets everyone worked up

A copilot's most important job is to relay the information that's been spoken out loud on the intercom to the pilot sitting in the same small space as that intercom


Flight 666 isn't necessarily a good movie, but it kept my attention for 90 minutes and even managed a few surprises along the way. One could do worse (especially on Amazon Prime).

No comments:

Post a Comment