Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

If I’ve learned one thing from watching director Kaare Andrews little claustrophobic Horror / Sci-Fi / Thriller creature feature ‘Altitude’, it would be that if I’m in a tight spot with any of the characters in this movie, that is if any of these characters actually survive this movie and if they really existed, I must make it a point not to count on any of these kids because these young, but admittedly attractive people do not handle pressure well. At all.

Somewhere in the reality this movie takes place Cold Play is about to play their greatest hits on a stage somewhere and it would seem that driving to a Cold Play concert sucks ass. Good thing for us that the lovely Sara (Jessica Lowndes) is a licensed pilot and has secured a little prop plane to ferry her people to and fro in no time flat. Who are these people you might ask? Well they are the typical types you find in a movie such as this one such as Sara’s number one girlfriend Mel (Julianna Guill) who will be freaking out real soon, Mel’s asshole boyfriend Sal (Jake Weary) who takes assholery to a whole other level. Do we seriously need this character in all these movies? Seriously? Sara’s cousin Bruce (Ryan Donowho) is also along for the flight and in addition to freaking out very soon he also brought his guitar along to take to the concert. Is that something people actually do? Go to a rock concert and take your axe with you to play along? I remember going to see Herbie Hancock in concert a few years back and being that I was a keyboard player at one time it never dawned on me to take my portable Casio to the concert to the play along with Herbie. I doubt they would’ve even let me in. Finally we have Cory (Landon Loboiron) who is kind of Sara’s boyfriend and will be freaking out the most. We say ‘kind of her boyfriend’ because these two kids seem barely able to stand the sight of one another.

So we take off and it’s not long before the ninety minute flight goes straight to heck. First the planes elevator stops working causing the plane to gradually increase in ‘Altitude’. No, I didn’t know what an elevator on an airplane was before I saw this movie but ‘Altitude’ does serve the purpose as a primer in small prop plane operations. Then communications are lost with ground control, then the instrumentation stops working, followed by the weird storm that appeared out from nowhere and finally our crew sees a giant floating octopus with razor sharp teeth. Yeah… I said it, a giant floating octopus with sharp teeth. Just so you know the crew started freaking out long before the octopus showed up.

Now what? Well, not much really except watch everybody freak out and die. Or maybe not. Maybe it’s a secret government experiment? Maybe it’s a dream. Or maybe Cory who is freaking out the most has a secret that just might explain everything. I’m not going to spoil it for you. The trailer for this movie spoils it way better than I ever could.

‘Altitude’ is interesting in the sense that it takes a fairly unique, somewhat original concept and surrounds this concept with the same generic stuff that you’ve seen over and over and over again. The bulk of this generic-ness starts and pretty much ends with the characters that we are stuck with for the ninety or so minute running time of this movie. We won’t have too much trouble recognizing these characters since they all have props to make this easy for us. Sal the asshole is a jock and we know this because he wears his letter jacket. Mel the best friend is a film student because she has this video camera she uses all the damn time while constantly informing us that she’s a film student. We already know that Bruce is a musician because of his infernal acoustic guitar, Cory is a weak spineless geek because he brought a comic-book on the plane and Sara is your typical hot final girl as we can plainly see by gazing into her crystal blue eyes and observing her killer set of hips. Outstanding. One thing that is a little different about these characters is that usually these kinds of movies have that one character that serves as the ‘We All Gonna Die’ guy in the movie. In this movie everybody is that character. As it turns out that’s mighty irritating.

Unfortunately, from where I’m sitting, it’s these supremely annoying caricatures that keep ‘Altitude’ from reaching its full potential and there was some potential here. The movie looks great, Andrews makes good use of the films claustrophobic confines, the story and twist elements are truly wacky but work in an odd kind of way, but spending ninety minutes in these tight confines with these five individuals was absolutely no fun. I can see why Sara risked life and limb to fly this time around since driving to see Cold Play with these clowns had to be suicide inducing. When you find yourself rooting for the giant floating octopus with the sharp teeth to end these kids… Yeah, I don’t think that’s the design.

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