Thursday, August 2, 2012

In short: 407 Dark Flight (2012)

Flight SA 407 from somewhere in Thailand to somewhere else is what a professional would call a troubled flight. There are motherfucking ghosts on this motherfucking plane, and they are very very angry for no particular reason. Well, some of 'em are angry because flight attendant New (Marsha Wattanapanich) - character names from the subtitles so don't blame me - once survived another haunted flight in a not particularly nice manner, but what the problem of the dozens of other ghosts (existing in every shape and form, from a traditional Thai dancer to a white guy in a body bag) on board is, I do not know, nor does the film tell me.

Apart from New, there are some of the mainstays of disaster cinema on board: a troubled family whose teenage girl member wants to become a pilot when she grows up (alas, the film misses out on having her actually land the plane), a very gay flight attendant, a heroic airplane mechanic (Peter Knight), a cowardly monk, an old lady suffering from fear of flying, and nasty white people. All of them are ready to break out into melodramatics at the most inappropriate moment, so hurray for disaster movie characters.

Anyway, the ghosts sabotage oxygen reserves and suffocate people, and then try to drive the rest of the cast insane so that they'll kill each other off, which seems a bit unnecessary, seeing as the ghosts are also attempting to cause an airplane crash. Will the ghostly plans succeed?

Isara Nadee's 407 Dark Flight (3D, in theory) is a movie that raises the age-old question of "intentional or unintentional comedy?". The answer may forever remain a mystery. On one hand, there are many unfunny moments in the movie that are clearly meant as "comedy", on the other, there are just as many hilarious moments that are played so straight they can't be meant as comedy. Especially the film's killing scenes become more ridiculous the longer it goes on, ending on a series of kind of low rent Final Destination semi-accidents with pointy objects, which gives a good indication of which movies the ghosts have been watching on the flights they weren't haunting. On the third hand, this crap - a term I suggest is a fitting description of 407 Dark Flight's plot, script and acting - can't be meant seriously? For once, I find myself baffled by the purpose of a movie.

There are things I do understand about 407, though, namely that it's a damnably entertaining movie if one is willing to indulge in a dumbness so big it might be contagious, giggle helplessly at shoddy CGI, laugh tears when characters so clichéd you want to applaud when they die are cut to pieces with one of these practical handaxes most flights carry around somewhere (for firewood for the first class fireplace, I suppose), and stare in wonder when the crazy stuff stops for five minutes of utterly serious melodrama, as if solving one's family problems were a priority when one's flight has been hijacked by ghosts. 407 is the mutant child of bad disaster movies and bad rollercoaster horror films, and it has come to liquefy our brains; at least that's the only explanation I can find for its existence.

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