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"Altitude" Review

For most of its run time the dumb-teens-on-a-small-plane-in-trouble flick Altitude is a constant stream of dumb contrivances, on-the-nose writing, and annoying characters consistent with a low-budget B-movie, but in the last five minutes it almost becomes something pretty neat.

After a Very Important Prologue in which we see a horrifying mid-air collision between two small planes, we meet our dead meat, er, plucky characters led by rookie pilot Sara, who looks like a cross between Neve Campbell and Amanda Peet. Her mother died in the prologue and she's secretly learned to fly and is taking her four stupid, er, best friends to a Coldplay concert. (Yes, a Coldplay concert. They all deserve to die.) There's a meathead jock (signified by his varsity jacket, constant brewski guzzling, and general stupidity); his filmmaker girlfriend (she has a video camera and tells us she's a film major); and two emo guys, one a musician (he has a guitar) and the other being Really Creepy and Probably Harboring a Secret About What Really Happened to His Parents. (Hint hint hint!)

Shortly after takeoff, a bolt comes loose, jamming the controls and forcing the plane to climb higher and higher into a storm front. They lose contact with the tower, the instruments go haywire, and are running out of fuel because Little Miss Spunky Pilot forget to check the gas gauge. Oh, did I mention the monster that may be hunting the plane, too? Yeah, that's a problem they have.

When the stupid people aren't doing stupid things and screaming at each other (stupidly), they're getting knocked off one-by-one and while it's always fun to see Coldplay fans die, anyone with a passing knowledge of how horror movies work can predict who the final survivor(s) are likely to be. (Nudge, wink.)

Where Altitude manages to do a little something different is at the very end when what's causing the situation and how it resolves itself plays out. I kind of predicted the cause, but the punchline was novel and almost redeems the dumb stuff that fills the other 95% of the movie. Almost.

Score: 4/10. Catch it on cable.

Jeez, they actually pretty much give away the twist in the trailer, so not quite.


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