Film Review: Airborne (MA15+) (UK, 2012)

You may think you’ve seen or heard of this sort of film before, the one where a group of people are trapped in a confined spare (ie: an airplane) and all of a sudden start dying. Sometimes you can even guess who or what the cause of the mayhem is however in the case of Airborne you’ll probably never pick it, purely because it’s so absurd you wouldn’t have thought they could stoop so low.

There’s a certain finesse to these low budget films that requires a fair amount of juggling so as not to fall victim to being schlocky. Surprisingly director Dominic Burns and writer Paul Chronell do a decent job of keeping it all together up until a little over the halfway mark before it all starts going wobbly plot-wise. The acting was done well considering the rather awkward, predominantly stereotypical characters our cast are forced to portray. It’s obvious that some scenes are specifically cheesy and over-done, but it’s a little hard to tell whether that was the cast members ad-libbing or actual script material. I did find it amusing that the “annoyingly talkative American, Bob Turner” played by our director Dominic Burns is the first of our victims.

I’d like to hope that was a tongue-in-cheek attempt at fuelling the America VS England fire. And in a casting coup they also managed to acquire Mark Hamill and Alan Ford who both fall victim to the aforementioned cheesy scripting but still somehow stay in character without losing too much credibility or dignity. The editing is a little choppy and there are moments where the flow seems stilted due to cutting back and forth between being on board the plane with the passengers, or being in the air traffic control tower with Hamill’s exasperated Malcolm trying to rescue the doomed flight. The SFX look like they’ve used the team who do those Air Crash Investigations type shows, but I guess with a limited budget you work with what you can afford.

Airborne does seem to nosedive after the halfway point and once they reveal what exactly has caused all the commotion, that’s when it all starts going horribly wrong both plot-wise and for our characters who start dying at a rapid rate. I won’t spoil it, because the utter ridiculousness of it was half the fun. In some ways it’s a bit like a car crash, you don’t want to keep watching but you can’t help yourself.

Review Score: TWO STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Airborne will be available on DVD through Eagle Entertainment from 24 July 2013