Directed by Dominic Burns
Written by Paul Chronnel
A storm is setting in, all flights are cancelled with the exception of this one, the tired air traffic controller is on the eve of retirement and the movie’s cast is crammed full of top notch B- listers. What more could anyone want from a british horror / thriller popcorn fest ? Well, apart that is from a decent storyline and script.
Airborne is a 3 star piece of hokum. It reminds one of a Hammer horror movie of the 1970s, updated to reflect the 21st century, where instead of the haunted house or Dracula’s castle, the action takes place on a virtually deserted 747 hurtling across the Atlantic. Throw in a handful of beautiful women, scantily clad as the situation demands, and a storyline that is as cheesy as it is implausible, and you are in for a lively flight.
Good low budget horror is common place these days, and the genre thrives. With a budget in excess of $1,000,000 Airborne has probably had more cash to play with than many of its contemporaries, however director Dominic Burns was not going to let a bundle of cash stand in the way of making the movie look like it was put together on a shoestring. The air traffic control room appeared decidedly unconvincing and in an unfortunate cinematic mishap, the movie which is set aboard a jumbo jet, famously known ( and shown ) as a four engined craft, cut early on to a stock-footage shot of a twin-engined plane banking off course into a dark and foreboding sunset. And don’t even ask about the quality of the footage of the fighter jets scrambled to intercept this flying house of horror.
But these criticisms are petty, for in the tradition of the good scary movie, it is the cast that make this film watchable. Alan Ford, the ultimate cockney diamond-geezer, reprises his well worn London gangster caricature with relish. And whilst nearly every other line of his dialogue appears to include the “F” word, at least his character is spared having to utter the pricelessly awful line uttered by one of his henchmen: “You may be the big dick on the ground, but you are flaccid up here”. Flying with Ford is Julian Glover, a veteran English actor of distinction, playing an American Indiana Jones type character who is transporting an ancient vase that may contain evil forces within it.
Mark Hamill, yes that one, the original Luke Skywalker, heavily plugged as the film’s star name, is the controller on the ground. He’s aged a bit since Star Wars, but his voice is delicious and it is fun seeing him on screen again this time old enough to actually be Luke’s father. Billy Murray, legend of The Bill and EastEnders, who is one of the movie’s producers, appears in a cameo trotting out his “non-caring hard-man” persona as the man we love to hate.
Of course, the vase’s supernatural powers develop through the flight, evil deeds occur and the body count grows in pleasingly bloody fashion to take in most of the cast. To reveal too much more would be to spoil the story. Suffice to say, Ford being momentarily suicidal and Glover contemplating his own mortality, do add spice to the movie’s melodramatic moments of terror.
This DVD accompanied by a beer or several, and a tasty take-away will make for a good evening’s entertainment, watching some old familiar faces play out a modern day ghost story.
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