Bloody hell, I knew it was a mistake to watch a film starring Mark Hamill neither playing Luke Skywalker nor voicing The Joker.
I’m always one to give Video On Demand (VOD) films their fair shot, as sometimes it’s just a matter of lesser known foreign films or surprise independent hits getting proper distribution, but then again there are some films that are just so bad they don’t deserve a theatrical release in the slightest.
Airborne is one of those films, being a rancid airplane thriller which flaunts itself as a brutal horror watch. Unless just the sight of flying sends you into a tizzy, Dominic Burns’ empty thriller will leave you scrambling for a parachute and a quick access escape, jumping to safety while avoiding the entire monotonous flight. Even if there isn’t a parachute, jumping still is probably the better option, sadly.
This Paul Chronnell scripted mess sucks the life out of an already barren airplane by taking so terribly long to build any kind of tension, spending the first half of the film watching passengers run around looking for other passengers who seemingly vanished into the sky. If you love people running around and screaming names in haste, then you’re in luck, but for those of us who like, you know, ACTUAL tension, it’s about 50 minutes until we even get the first taste. To our dismay though, it tastes something rotten, like spoiled Haggis, and is immediately rejected by even the blandest of palates. Shaking crates, pulsing air, and fake eye-flashes in no means constitutes horror.
Don’t think you get off easy either Dominic Burns. First off, your acting performance as the “yank” Bob Turner couldn’t have been more second-rate-stand-up-comedian-esque. I get you’re poking fun at your brothers across the pond, but c’mon, you need an annoying character, so of course he’s American? Bugger off mate, if you’re going to take a piss and get a few chuckles out of the old US of A, at least don’t resort to some faulty Saturday morning cartoon stereotype.
Aside from terrible acting, Burns also shows no experience in setting up scares or drama. The missing emotions are obvious amongst all around awful execution, and detract mightily from character encounters and horror elements Airborne so mightily strives for. I mean just look at the promotional pictures and poster! Blood everywhere, actors sitting in airplane seats while a killer with a knife lurks in the background! Yeah, I’ve never seen such advertising misguidance in my life. Well, I’m sure others have been just as deceitful, but Airborne contends with the best, and by best I mean worst.
Touching back on the soul-draining tone, most of the action goes down off-screen, sans one bloody death, while the rest are silly and incomprehensible. Alan Ford’s moronic death is the most prominent example, as he dies with no meaning, sense, care, and laughably I may add. That fateful moment almost derailed my viewing completely, ready to throw my remote through my TV screen as the most satisfying means to stop Airborne‘s torture, but no, I trudged on. I sat through death after death, counting down the remaining characters while looking for a bright light (the credits) at the end of Burns’ pitch black tunnel, to the point where focusing became an absolute chore out of sheer boredom.
But, worst of all, worse than all that worthless buildup and rubbish screen time, worse than poor directorial choices and shoddy writing, worse than silly characters and wasted talent, was a reveal so inscrutably bad, so maddening, so downright wasteful, I was tempted to re-enact South Park‘s “Passion of the Jew” episode and demand my money back from Dominic Burns.
The whole film we watch some mysterious crate rattle around, eluding to some sort of importance you would think. We even get a curse explanation from “Creepy Old Passenger,” again hinting something nasty awaits to be freed. Well, spoiler alert, the box is opened, and nothing freakin’ changes. Not a damn thing. The box’s contents just use the same damn powers as when it was closed. No ghostly apparitions, no evil demon, not even a malicious termite. What a load of absolute crap and a mind-numbing waste of time, showing iron-strong willpower for NOT turning off Airborne when I had the chance.
I won’t even touch on acting because even if you lined up every Best Actor winner for the last twenty years and exchanged them for this cast, Airborne would still be doomed.
Airborne is the equivalent of a real airplane taking off with one pilot who was never trained properly, an understaffed and lifeless flight crew, three out of four broken engines, a bent wing, spoiled food, no alcohol, the in-flight movie is Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star, all the seats are those new defective ones that keep falling back onto other passengers, and the door won’t close so passengers have to sit clenching their chairs for fear of flying out the opening.
Then you lose grip, fly out the open door, plummet to your almost death where you plunge into the ocean, a shark bites your leg off, and just before you bleed out, an angry dolphin rapes you.* In the face.
Sound fun to you? No? Was that enough to steer you away?
*I’ve never been raped or participated in dolphin rape, but one can only assume it an unpleasant endeavour.