How do you enjoy a film like ALTITUDE? It requires the viewer to completely give themselves to the experience. Forget logic, forget reality and just enjoy the ride. A majority of what you will see is going to be ludicrous but being unbelievable doesn’t necessarily make it a mediocre film. It doesn’t make it a mind blowing thrill ride either, but it’s a solid way to spend an hour and a half.
ALTITUDE follows a group of friends who rent an airplane to fly out to a concert. One of the friends, Sara, is a newly trained pilot who will be flying the plane transporting them. Shortly after takeoff and they are well on their way, some unexpected bad weather starts creeping in and Sara is forced to try and climb above it, but a malfunction causes the plane to climb uncontrollably. Panic sets in quick amongst the group and after they attempt to fix the malfunction they begin to realize that there might be something mysterious lurking in the clouds terrorizing them.
I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed ALTITUDE. The initial trailer I watched a long time ago boasted what appeared to be very terrible acting and cheesy looking effects. Well the bad acting was indeed present in the first fifteen to twenty minutes of the film, but once things go sour and we get into the stormy clouds things get a whole lot better. The performances and the tension both climb and keep hold for the rest of the film. The tension between the characters was also surprisingly effective and their transition into panic and even psychosis was very engaging. The claustrophobic setting of the plane really helped the tension.
The cast also really caught me by surprise. Sure they aren’t A-listers and they have their obvious shortcomings but for what the movie is and the fact that the whole movie rests on their shoulders it is quite a feat that they were able to come out and perform as well as they did. The script is not without some oddly cheesy moments in a mostly serious film. Sure it’s a supernatural creature feature so the term serious I must use loosely, but for all intents and purposes the tone of the film is definitely more serious than cheesy or silly.
The special effects for a direct to video release are very well done up to and including the creature reveal. Do not be fooled though because the big guy takes a back seat for the vast majority of the film, but the brief glimpses here and there keep the awareness high. It’s presence in the clouds can always be felt and the growls you hear are ominous, creepy and intimidating.
With a film like ALTITUDE you need to be realistic and understand that this is not classic cinema, it’s not here to teach you any lessons or leave you with any profound emotional connection, it’s simply an hour and a half of clean horror fun with a great deal of tension, sweet special effects and a set of performances that a movie such as this normally wouldn’t get. If you shut your brain off, switch off the lights and let yourself be entertained you will enjoy the ride; at least till you get to the weak ending.