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[Altitude]
Plot:When a rookie pilot and her friends lose control of their plane as a result of freak mechanical failure, they discover themselves plummeting through the sky besieged by a mysterious, malevolent force.

Cast:Jessica Lowndes, Julianna Guill, Ryan Donowho, Landon Liboiron, Jake Weary, Mike Dopud, Ryan Grantham, Chelah Horsdal, Ian Robison, Michelle Harrison, Teghan Gentles, Seth Ranaweera.

My Thoughts:Surprisingly decent.

Review:"Altitude" as a film, is set up to fail. It involves a group of young people who take a flight in a small private plane, with one of their friends at the helm...to a concert. During the flight, the plane is attacked by a lovecraftian creature. Most horror films where humans are attacked by a lovecraftian monster, turn out for better or worse...to be worse. Not sure why, but I think most of the time...it's the budget.

There's just not enough funding invested to make these creatures really come to life on the big screen. "Altitude" manages to work the angles of the monster, by making it a menacing enough creature, that pops up from time to time. But it keeps it's cool by creating a strong sense uf suspense within the confines of the plane, by using it's characters fear well enough, combined with the desperation of the situation that they're in. Pretty much, the flight goes well for a few minutes, before dark clouds set it, and the planes mechanical instruments go into total failure mode.

The pilot (Lowndes), and her friends then begin to snap at each other, with everyone blaming Lowndeses character for the mishap. And even as this mysterious creature attacks the plane, the friends still continue to point fingers and argue. The movie uses the scenario at hand as it's ace card, creating all kinds of suspense, scares, and intrigue. I never really felt bored watching this movie, although I expected to be bored at many times while watching, I never did feel that way. It's mostly because the visual effects and the way the scenes are created and played out, manage to really make the viewer buy into the scenario of these kids being trapped in some alternate aerial reality, under attack from a tentacled monster.

Granted, not a ton of money was spent on this movie I'm sure, but enough money was put into making the situation seem real and powerful. Thus, it keeps you watching and guessing for the duration. That, along with the moment the viewer waits for, which is when you find out what is actually happening to these kids. Why has their plane just shut down? Who will be snatched away by the monster? Who'll live to tell about all of this? And where did the monster come from of course? All of these questions are eventually answered, but the film makes sure to space out the answers, filling the time in-between each answere question with some strong moments of suspense and terror.

So while the movie or the film itself, is a simple horror movie, with a simple plot...i.e. Monster attacks teens...it also manges to be effective. Which in the end, is all one cares about really. Guill and Lowndes, two young up and coming actresses, play their roles quite well in the movie. And the fact that both characters weren't wirtten to be obnoxious or immature type of young ladies, was a refreshing slight in the films direction. The directing in "Altitude" is also quite well done. The shaky camera angles aren't shaky-bad, but shaky-good, in that they add to and capture what's happening perfectly.

Without making you naseous, giving you a migraine, or just being plum annoying. And the dark moments in the movie are perfectly clear and resolute, especially with DVD quality. So anyone who hates movies where dark moments are a pain in the ass to see unfold due to bad lighting or camera-work, will love "Altitude". The movies big reveal works on some levels, and but also falters on a few levels as well. The big reveal of course being where'd the monster come from, and how did this whole situation come to be in the first place. My personal opinion is that the big reveal worked, because it had a lot of different dimensions and layers to it.

With a few clever twists thrown in for good measure...but some might see it as pedestrian, childish, or not good enough. I can see their point, should anyone think this, but I thought the big revelation of what was happening, and why, worked for this type of horror movie. But it does leave itself open to criticism, and I'm sure many will slam the ending as just being plain lame. But for me, it worked. "Altitude" is a monster movie that has all of the components to be a total disaster. But with some decent acting, a very ambitious story, and some terrific directing...it works on 5 times as many more levels than it fails.

Positives:Good performances by Lowndes, Guill, and the other young actors. A very ambitious story, good directing, and a modestly high entertainment value level. A unique direction was taken with the ending also, which I appreciated.

Negatives:One of the male leads at times, was overly obnoxious, the guy who plays Guill's boyfriend in the movie.

Overall:Three stars out of four.





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