WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
It’s a rare thing for me to be left utterly dumbfounded by a movie. Amused? Sometimes. Confused? Occasionally. Angry? Fairly often. But dumbfounded is a feeling only brought on by particular kinds of movies, and Airborne just happens to be one of those movies. It starts off as a simplistic post-911 action thriller, but somehow, through various twists and turns, lands up being a pseudo-mythological, demonic possession movie. It’s quite astounding, really. And then there’s the foreboding. This movie has more dramatic foreboding in it than the Twilight movies had stares. The only way it could have been less subtle is if they had a full orchestra go into full swing every time the camera settled on someone’s face. Don’t believe me? Then read on, dear reader, and for the truly brave, perhaps you can give it a watch.
It’s a frightfully stormy day in Merry Old England, and due to an approaching storm (which, by the looks of the radar images we’re shown from time to time, appears to be a hurricane larger than the British Isles) all flights out of Heathrow have been cancelled. All except one, of course. Onto this plane assembles the largest group of misfits you can imagine: soldiers fresh off a tour in Iraq and accused of using excessive force, an Godfather-type and his two cronies, a raging alcoholic, a doctor accused of malpractice, and a sudden replacement air steward that no one has ever met. Oh yeah, and that mysterious crate that gives off funny noises and occasionally jumps around that’s under the special protection of the British government. With all of this to consider, what could possibly go wrong?
The flight starts out nicely enough. The alcoholic awakens with a raging hangover, the Godfather behaves in a typically refined-yet-thuggish manner, and two randy love birds get it on in a tiny bathroom. It’s exactly the sort of thing you’d expect on such a midnight flight. But something is terribly amiss. You know this because the love birds land up being bludgeoned to death and the plane makes a mysterious and unreported change in flight path. Not that flight control back in Britain seems to be overly alarmed. Apparently it’s quite normal for planes to change direction and go to Florida instead of New York without checking in with anyone. Back on the plane, people are starting to disappear at an alarming rate, and even our motley crew of passengers knows that people do not simply disappear while you’re flying however-many-thousands of feet above the ground.
The foreboding is cranked into high gear when suddenly, and for no apparent reason, the most top secretist agents in all of Britain take over the flight control centre and threaten to have the Americans blow the plane out of the sky unless they can get someone to respond. Back on the plane, a hostage situation develops over the content of the crate, which turns out to be a Chinese vase worth over $ 10 million. But something isn’t adding up about this hostage situation: the two hostage takers cannot account for all the dead people, which means that something else has been killing off the passengers (and the pilots) while they weren’t looking. Hypothetically this third-party may or may not be the spirit of a Chinese deity that was imprisoned in the vase and is busy looking for a human host that he can possess. Once this has hypothetically happened and he has found the ideal host he will be able to take over the world and fulfill the Mayan 2012 Doomsday prophecy. Can our hapless group of hostages stand up to the might of an ancient Chinese deity and save the world from absolute destruction? Probably not: the foreboding’s gonna slow them down too much.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Britain’s just a breeding ground for conspicuous Godfather-types.
- Britain’s also home to several pockets of irritatingly chatty, global warming-obsessed geography teachers.
- Air stewards must be proficient in mixing drinks and performing sleeper holds.
- If a drunk irritates them enough, flight stewards can be made to break standard health and safety procedures.
- Complimentary drinks are usually all it takes to quell an uprising of plane passengers.
- Most air stewardesses know which two wires to cross to make a plane just drop out of the sky.
- The Chinese gods and Mayan priests were in cahoots when it came to the 2012 prophecy.
BUY AIRBORNE AT AMAZON.COM
Year of Release: 1999
IMDB Rating: 3.3 / 10
Level of Awful: High
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
*sniff sniff* What’s that? It smells like home… Aah yes, it’s a killer clown movie! A long time has passed since I last saw this dear old friend of mine and it felt about time for a visit. Of course when you want to do a catch up with someone you need some time to yourselves to chat and relax in each other’s company so I thought, ‘why not go camping?’ Of course, Camp Blood is beautiful at this time of year: the trees are in bloom, the birds are singing and the forest is teeming with life. It’s quite rustic, there aren’t any cabins and certainly no electricity, but thankfully it comes with its own killer clown built-in and fully operational. So let me tell you how this old friend of mine is doing…
Since it’s been such a long time since I last saw my friend the killer clown movie I had completely forgotten just how rough he can look sometimes. Not to say that he isn’t still scary looking (perish the thought), but the way he was put together in this particular instance was quite unsettling. Sometime between our last meeting and now his budget was slashed tremendously and the only way that he could be made was by some fool with a handheld camera and a few friends who had a free weekend. Sitting there watching him regale me with his story I felt a little bit queasy, not only because the camera was going a little all over the place but also because everything seemed to have either a slight green or yellow tinge (I must remember to pick something up for him so he can sort that out). After getting over that I was also struck by how old my friend the killer clown movie was looking in this particular manifestation since, although he was only born in 1999, he looked like he was brought into this world sometime in the mid-80s. I didn’t mention any of this to him since I thought it might bring down the mood of our little camping session, and nobody wants a sad killer clown movie crying over his toasted marshmallows, but I was feeling sorry for my friend even before he revealed his plotline to me.
After our toasted marshmallows me and my dear friend the killer clown movie sat down under the stars while he told me about this very bad plotline that he was being saddled with. In the very beginning, before the main plotline kicks in, we are briefly introduced to a guide and what I’m taking to be a nerdy tourist walking along the trails of Camp Blackwood, the official name for the area that the locals have dubbed ‘Camp Blood’. Suddenly, and for no apparent reason, a sex scene breaks out and our two minor characters are going at it as best they can while still wearing pants. After a beautiful love-making session of soft moans, delicate music and gentle caresses, the camp’s resident psychopath in a clown mask comes out from the undergrowth and proceeds to hack the two to pieces with his machete. Two hunters will come to the same fate while they attempt to hunt some deer to add to their trophy collection. At this point I can see that my friend the killer clown movie is a little embarrassed by what he’s telling me, so I decide that it’s time for some steaming hot chocolate to soothe our souls.
With the hot chocolate finished we retired to our tent and began delicately spooning one another. Feeling that he was in a safe place my friend the killer clown movie began opening up to me about his main plotline. A group of 4 friends have decided to take a little camping trip up to Camp Blackwater to get away from it all. Along the way (well, after becoming lost and needing directions) they happen across a somewhat crazy town local (by definition I thought this meant that there needed to be a town nearby, but apparently I’m wrong) who warns them not to go near the old campsite because of The Clown. Not believing that some man is running around in the forest killing people they set off anyway and, once arriving at the camp and going wandering in the woods, they meet up with their burly lesbian guide who will show them how to get around and where to find the best place to get in touch with nature (i.e. have sex). During a campfire session involving ghost stories the guide expands on the old man’s story about The Clown, informing us that he is actually just a man who went a touch insane and killed two innocent people. Again the group doesn’t believe the story but, when they wake up in the morning to find the guide dead and a clown chasing after them, they need to pull all their wits together to try and make it out of Camp Blood alive.
We awoke the next morning in a gentle embrace to see the sun coming over the mountains and a single bird perched in a tree branch. My friend the killer clown movie seemed to be happier having gotten all of that off his chest and, after a long breakfast where we discussed the intricacies of life and Lady Gaga’s medical condition, we decided to head back to civilisation. I told him that I wasn’t sure when I would see him again but that, no matter what happened or how many b-movies I watched, he would always have a special place in my DVD collection.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Forest sex is best done half-clothed with a piano and flute instrumental in the background.
- Locals in small towns are always foul-mouthed lunatics.
- Memories are usually repeated over a megaphone.
- Why wait for a guide when you can go into strange woods blind?
- Lesbian camping guides are very heavy-handed with their customers.
- Heavy foreplay is often a sign that a woman just wants to cuddle.
- After sex women like to sleep in their bras and jeans.
- When helping an injured person walk you should always support the leg that’s working fine.
Year of Release: 2010
Genre: Horror / Thriller / Mystery
IMDB Rating: 5.1 / 10
Level of Awful: Low
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Disappointment, thy name is Vanishing on 7th Street. This movie had so much promise (interesting concept, people who can actually act, $10 000 000 budget etc.) but something about it just isn’t right. It’s main problem lies in the fact that, while very watchable, you never feel very engaged with the movie – the characters do not interact well with one another and none of them are particularly likeable. What it reminded me of a lot was Pulse, another movie that I just couldn’t quite get into – you know what’s happening and you know when something’s gonna come out and grab someone but you have absolutely no clue why any of it is happening and the movie never cares to explain any of it to you. Unlike Pulse, however, Vanishing on 7th Street doesn’t have any answer to the problem so you’re left hanging at the end. All in all it was a fair attempt but it never feels like much effort actually went into making it or trying to make the story and characters pan out properly.
Something very strange is going on in the world. Our 4 characters Luke (a TV presenter), Paul (works at a Cinema making sure the movies work), Rosemary (a physical therapist) and James (son of a bartender) were all going about their daily lives when a blackout hit the city. The strange part is that, when the power came back on, everyone else was gone. All that was left of them was whatever they were wearing, bunched up on the floor (a little bit like the aeroplane in the mini-series adaptation of Steven King’s The Langoliers). The problem is that, while the people are gone, their spirits aren’t. Everywhere across the city their shadows / souls stalk around any place that’s dark, hunting down those few people who were not taken in the initial blackout. Thriving in darkness and forced back by any light source, the few remaining people need to survive night time with the help of any available light source they can find. Unfortunately for them the sun is taking longer to rise and setting much quicker, giving the shadows more and more time to hunt them down.
As the night takes longer and longer to pass Luke manages to find his way to a little bar on 7th Street where James has managed to keep the lights on with the help of a little backup generator. A delusional Rosemary makes her way there a little later, desperately trying to find her lost 9-month-old son. Paul is dragged there after he is found screaming in a bus shelter where the lights have managed to stay on thanks to them being solar powered. Now when all of these people rocked up at the pub I was just waiting for the twist later on that would explain the shadows and why these people (a) were not taken and, (b) brought together. Sadly, this was not to be. What the movie does instead is try to play on the Roanoke Colony, an English colony established in 1585 on Roanoke Island just off North Carolina. The entire colony disappeared, leaving only the word ‘croatoan’ scratched onto a fence post. The movie makes it all sound a lot more ominous that it may have been, but it fits into the whole disappearance storyline so they just took it and ran with it.
With the generator in the bar slowing dying our hero Luke decides that they have to get out of town. While the shadows somehow manage to drain electricity from most things they come into contact with Luke has managed to find one car that still has a charge in its battery. Since things are never really that simple getting out of town will require going to fetch the car and dragging it back to the pub to hook it up to the generator to charge the battery enough to make it go. This will prove to be tricky since all of the flashlights the group has die within a matter of minutes as the shadows drain the batteries in an attempt to get closer to their prey (why the shadows hunt people in the first place isn’t something that’s really explained either). To add to their woes the shadows are tricky, able to play tricks and alter their whispered voices in an attempt to fool the survivors into thinking that their lost loved ones are close by, and some members of this little group are dumb and easily fooled.
In closing if you’ve never watched Pulse, The Langoliers, Blindness, I Am Legend or The Walking Dead and feel like a watching them all quickly, rent Vanishing on 7th Street and you’ll get the main points to all of those movies, just without the cohesiveness or enjoyment.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Never trust a delusional, grief stricken black woman with a gun.
- Never trust a traumatised 12-year-old boy looking for his mother with a shotgun.
- Most pubs come ready equipped with a fallout shelter in the event of a nuclear war.
- The earth’s rotation can be sped up or slowed down depending on the whim of the evil forces ruling over it.
- Shadows have issues when it comes to their own existence and sense of self-worth.
- As a result, shadows are incredibly whiny.
- Milla Jovovich crashing into a church on a motorbike is stylish. Hayden Christensen crashing into a church in an old pickup truck isn’t.
VANISHING ON 7TH STREET TRAILER