Friday, April 06, 2012

Dark Flight (407 เที่ยวบินผี)

Bump in the Dark


Dark Flight 407 may have its being touted as one of the first Thai stereoscopic 3D horror films to help pull in the audience, but I suppose not having the 3D version shown here is telling of the distributor's confidence in the film, which could have been one scary trip, but turned out to be unintentional comedy for the most parts. Filled with horror cliches and a plot riddled with loopholes and really going nowhere if not for knowing its flight path is from Bangkok to Phuket, the only way to enjoy this is to have lots of screaming kids who jump at every cliche to scary, and yell their lungs out for no apparent reason.

Headlined by Masha Wattanapanich whom horror fans here will identify as the star of Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom's Alone, and was in one of the segments in Phobia 2, her character of the air stewardess with a past, having survived an inexplicable fight where she turned out to be the lone survivor, suffers from a very bad script that paid her character little attention, allowing supporting ones to upstage her, and worst of all, involved in a needless twist ending that served no purpose other than to try and be a little bit smart. Written by a slew of writes, one suspects there could be internal competition, rewrites and adjustments everywhere in the story, otherwise how can one account for a tale that ultimately just strung together alternating scary and cliche moments?

Like most airplane related films, we begin on the ground and get introduced to a whole host of personalities scheduled to be on board Sunshine Airlines SA407, where we have an obnoxiously alpha-wife (Anchalee Hassadivichit), her meek bespectacled husband (Poramet Noi-Um) and kid (Patree Taptong) who is engrossed with her flight simulator game on her ipad. Right, that already tells a lot. Then there's a Hong Kong girl who doesn't seem a bit from Hong Kong (Sisangian Siharat), a surfer dude complete with dreadlocks (Namo Tongkumnerd), an old woman who's afraid to fly, a monk for convenient's sake, and a number of Caucasians there to contribute to body count. The flight attendants besides Masha's New, include an effeminate male attendant (X Thiti), and if I recall correctly I read an article before where the flight attendants have to dance the safety procedures out, which they do on board the plane before it takes off. To round things up, a technician (Peter Knight) accidentally got locked up in the cargo hold, and happens to share some emotional background with New.

Once in the air, the fun begins. Apparently the plane is haunted, and the exterior takes on a new colour and texture change, and internally ghouls start popping up everywhere, threatening all passengers on board, who also begin to hallucinate and turn on one another. It seems that whatever is possessing the plane, knows best to play on man's fears, causing them to imagine fellow peers as spirits, ghouls and goblins, so that they start to attack and kill anyone deemed a threat to their lives. This means plenty of blood spilling, and off screen violence complete with icky sounding bone crushing, stabbings, and other creative use of airline equipment to terminate the lives of another. From something suggested to be on a spiritual realm, Dark Flight turns into an all out slasher film where anyone can be the slasher once they believe what they see.

I get turned off right away when production teams don't respect the real world rules they have to play by especially for airport and airline related films. The minute the interior of the airplane came up, I knew this had bad and convenience written all over it, and the filmmakers probably think they can fool everyone and get away with it. Squarish windows don't make the cut, as do seats that look like they come straight out of a bus, in unrealistic cabin configuration as well, with gaping spaces in between and such. Even the interiors of the worst budget airlines don't look like this, and don't get me started on the unrealistic aisle space that allows for two food trolleys to be pushed side by side to each other.

The rare positives to come out of this films include the make up and special effects, that made the spirits featured look genuinely creepy, although director Isara Nadee seeemed to have run out of ideas fast when deciding how to make them appear and haunt the passengers. The worst technique employed was it crutch to milk its 3D production values, deciding it was best to almost always have a shot of spirits angled perpendicular to the camera, and reaching out toward it with hands grasping. Do it once to startle those wearing the 3D glasses, but to the rest, it just looks plain stupid when used repeatedly, betraying one's lack of creativity in coming up with distinctly different shock tactics.

Dark Flight turned out to be quite a messy affair, although it could have been a lot more fun if it was a horror-comedy and didn't take itself that seriously, with audiences bound to find many reasons to laugh at the film. The English subtitles were badly done and provided one source of comedy in itself, and there's a moment near the end in what would be a brilliant jab at all things bureaucratic involving a control tower manager, if not for what's to follow during the finale languishing in absurdity and destroying a good build up. As a warning to all potential passengers, watch this at your own peril.

1 comment:

FilmPuff said...

Oh man. I was so excited over this one :(

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