DVD REVIEW: ‘Altitude’

Fear - or Taco Bell - is in the air in "Altitude".
Fear - or Taco Bell - is in the air in "Altitude".

While I undoubtedly love the Halloween season, I have to say, almost nothing comes close to the feeling you get on Christmas morning. Even as an adult, I still feel the magic in the air whether it was walking through the early morning calm or waking to the sound of frantic present opening. Of course, opening presents was one of – if not the – favorite part. Tearing through the pretty colored paper, wide-eyed, and opening the box to reveal…

Socks.
Or underwear.
Sadly, that’s the feeling I got while watching “Altitude.”

At first glance, the story looks like what in now the typical modern horror story: four pretty teens against a mysterious and frightening supernatural force.

Oh, and in a plane.
Did I mention there were tentacles?

For the most part, that’s the story you get. For the most part… but in the end, you get socks. It’s not that it’s necessarily a bad thing or that it’s poorly done, but it is deeply flawed. It bangs the cliché drum pretty hard as far as the characters go. However, they do a bang up job considering the actors (Jessica Lowndes, Julianna Guill, Ryan Donowho, Landon Liboiron and Jake Weary) did probably 90% of their work against a green screen. Sadly, they could have just as easily titled it “Five Kids Bickering in a Plane”. After a while, it just got tiresome watching them play one cliché against the other. Really, we’ve seen it before. As for the story, we’ve seen it before too and executed better. Though, when the first two storytellers that come to mind with this kind of tale are Rod Serling and Steven Spielberg, it’s going to be hard to top. I wonder if it’s just the nature of the story itself that it requires stereotypical characters to tell it or that the stereotypes just could have been handled better. Going too much into the story, I think, spoils it. If you are up to watching this, I’ll leave it up to you to decide.

The effects were very good. There was only one thing I had a hard time believing to be real: the plane. It wasn’t all the time but some of the exterior shots of the plane looked like video game cut scenes. It’s really a shame since the other effects were, as I said, very good.

The DVD features include a concept art gallery (director Kaare Andrews is a comic book artist and even provides some art for the film), a nice feature on all the green screen work they did and also an extensive behind the scenes feature that let’s you in on virtually everything that went into making “Altitude”.

I was really hoping for some tasty bit of Lovecraftian goodness with “Altitude”. I didn’t get it. It was a film, mired in a lot of the standard tropes, that made a meager effort to break free of them, but didn’t quite take off.

Joe Lopez
Dubbed, "TerrorScribe" by a former editor, Joe made the conversion to horror sometime in the mid-2000s. Little did he know he'd favored the genre all of his life. When not struggling with short stories, he provided genre film reviews for local entertainment sites and later genre sites who could suffer his cynical views.

It was that same cynicism - and some might say hubris - that lead him to have a brief flirtation with filmmaking. His first two efforts, "Annotated" and "Antes Que Seja Tarde (Before It's Too Late)" both premiered at a local H.P. Lovecraft film festival. A third short, "Survivor Girl" proved to be his undoing though plans are in the works to revived the cursed project.

Born and raised in Dallas, TX., Joe now resides in a small Texas town. Statistics say more dead bodies turn up in small towns that big cities... though he claims to have NOTHING to do with that.
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