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'Altitude' DVD Review

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating

By

Altitude © Anchor Bay

The Bottom Line

A vividly portrayed Twilight Zone-ish trip.
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Pros

  • Good special effects
  • Inventive plot
  • Unique setting
  • Solid cast

Cons

  • Annoying characters
  • Incongruous plot elements
  • Some twists a bit predictable

Description

  • Starring Jessica Lowndes, Julianna Guill, Ryan Donowho, Landon Liboiron, Jake Weary, Mike Dopud
  • Directed by Kaare Andrews
  • Rated R
  • DVD Release Date: October 26, 2010

Guide Review - 'Altitude' DVD Review

Before heading off to college in Montreal, Sara decides to have one last fling with her friends on a road trip to a Coldplay concert. Her idea of a road trip, however, is more like a "sky trip." Having a pilot's license, Sara offers to rent a plane and fly pals Mel and Sal, cousin Cory and beau Bruce to the concert, against the wishes of her overprotective Air Force colonel father.

Her dad is apprehensive because Sara's mother died while flying a small passenger plane when Sara was a child. Ever impulsive, though, she sneaks off without telling her dad that the trip will be made through the air.

The colonel isn't the only person nervous about Sara's flight plans, however. Bruce is terrified from the start, making the others suspicious of his motivation for coming along. It seems that Bruce isn't ready to let Sara go and hopes to move with her to Montreal, much to her chagrin. Sal and Cory, meanwhile, have female issues of their own when Cory's feelings for Mel come to light.

The internal bickering is put on the back burner, though, when the plan begins to malfunction. As they fly through a storm, the systems go down and the plane begins to climb uncontrollably. Losing contact with air traffic controllers on the ground, the group must fend for itself. To make matters worse, Sal thinks he sees something completely unexpected emerge from the clouds: a giant tentacle.

Living in such a jaded, seen-it-all-before age, it's refreshing to find a film like Altitude that doesn't feel like it was drawn up with a cookie cutter. I mean, how many times have you seen the teens-on-an-out-of-control-plane-menaced-by-a-giant-cloud-monster premise?

For the most part, the movie works, although it's disappointing to find that that creature doesn't play a major role until the final 20 minutes or so. In fact, Altitude feels a bit like two movies squashed togheter: the first two-thirds a claustrophobic thriller about a malfunctioning plane and the final third a monster movie. As such, the thriller elements doen't always gel with the supernatural aspects of the finale, but both pieces individually provide ample entertainment.

The story relies on a certain level of mystery -- twists abound -- but most of the revelations are easy enough to figure out, diminishing their impact. Still, the script adds a nice, less predictable bow at the end that ties things together nicely.

The excellent special effects, unique concept, strong performances and exhilerating atmosphere make up for any deficiencies Altitude might have.

The DVD

Special features include commentary, featurettes and gallery.

Movie: B-
DVD: B-

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Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the distributor. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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