Ah yes, another found footage film. Just the other day we witnessed the found footage crapterpiece that was ‘Alien Origin’ so we probably weren’t in the mood for another found footage tale so soon after suffering through that one, but here we go anyway. Today’s found footage film is called ‘Area 407’ which is far better than ‘Alien Origin’, for whatever that’s worth, but it does have its challenges.
Say hello to Trish (Abigail Schrader), one of the more annoying fifteen year old girls with a video camera that you will ever meet. To be accurate I believe she’s holding the DSLR that belongs to her bountiful sister Jessie (Samantha Lester) who hopes to be a photographer one day. Trish and Jessie are catching a plane on their way back to Los Angeles from New York after a fun winter break with Trish obnoxiously filming everything mundane that is happening on this plane trip.
After meeting a few people, the plane experiences some turbulence, which is normal. What isn’t normal is the plane nose diving to the ground, this after Trish assured the nervous hottie across the aisle (Savannah Ward) that more people die in automobile accidents than in plane crashes. The camera blacks out and turns back on to reveal a very dire situation. The plane has split in two, everybody who had the misfortune of being in the front half of the plane is dead, with a few straggling survivors remaining who were in the back half of the plane. These survivors include Trish and Jessie, along with air waitress Lois (Samantha Sloyan), Laura (Melanie Lyons) who seems to be some random attractive Australian chick but is so much more, Tom (Ken Garcia) who was married to the scared hottie who picked a real bad time to head to the front of the plane to use the facilities, Jimmie (James Lyons) who is a real photographer and happens to also have a DSLR with him which will come in handy, and finally Charlie (Brendan Patrick Connor) who will be our ‘We All Gonna Die Guy’ in this movie.
So when a plane crashes a beacon goes out and help should be on the way. In theory at least. It’s been a while and help doesn’t seem to be coming, then there’s are the horrible screams heard in the distance in the dead of the night of the desert that they’ve crashed
in. What could that be? We don’t know but when whatever it is snatches the air waitress and completely eviscerates her, it’s time to run, and while running our survivors stumble upon some more eviscerated corpses, fear is setting in. Good thing we’re filming all of this.
Tom has observed that whatever is hunting them isn’t killing them for food like a regular wild animal would do, it’s just murdering them. Charlie, who is patience trying throughout this movie, in response to this observation yells ‘Who Cares!’. We were with Charlie on this one. The only things we know about this predator is that it moves fast, has a tail and a few rows of sharp teeth and thanks to Tom we know it’s not necessarily hungry.
One by one our survivors are becoming fewer and fewer, running for their lives, but the mystery remains… what is hunting them. Gotta admit, I didn’t guess that one.
‘Area 407’ directed by Dale Fabrigar and Everette Wallin is taking a bit of beating by both the reviewing press and the viewing public, but I didn’t think it was all that bad being a nice looking, well acted thriller, mostly through improvisation, that held my interest for most of the duration… but… it does have a fatal flaw which I really couldn’t reconcile no matter how hard I tried to. The fatal flaw isn’t that the characters in this movie did some incredibly stupid things during their attempts to survive, like repeatedly leaving the safety of four walls to try their luck running in wide open darkness towards nothing. Characters in movies like this always do stupid stuff, it’s expected. Nor was it the fact that monster causing all this mayhem was something straight out of left field. Again, didn’t see that coming.
The thing is, with most found footage movies, there is some semi-logical reason why there’s footage in the first place. Be it someone is making a movie or surveillance cameras setup in the house or a news crew capturing a story… something semi-logical. In ‘Area 407’ there is no earthly reason that I can think of why the cameras should be running. After the plane crashes maybe the girl with the camera should run it… maybe… to capture something about the crash to sell to CNN or whatnot, but once the monster starts hunting you… the camera should probably be cut off with the only order of the day being the avoidance of getting eaten. Or murdered since the monster wasn’t eating people. Thanks again Tom. But there they were, capturing footage while running for their lives or driving for their lives or trying to light flares or bleeding out.
Obviously the camera has to be running since it is a found footage film, the only other option being the creation of a regular type of film but then I guess blocking and staging and lighting and all other kinds of regular film stuff becomes an issue, things you can get away with when it comes to found footage. It’s just that the reason for the camera constantly running wasn’t anything close to semi-logical and it’s kind of a deal breaker.
Again, I didn’t think ‘Area 407’ was nearly as bad as I had heard, and I even found it reasonably entertaining, but that fatal flaw… hard to reconcile that one.