Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Area 407 (2012)

Area 407

Written by Robert Shepyer, Dale Fabrigar, & Everette Wallin
Directed by Dale Fabrigar & Everette Wallin

Have you ever wondered what it would have been like if Lost was shot on the cheap as a found footage film instead of a TV series, and instead of crashing on some mysterious god island, it landed in a Michael Crichton novel? Of course you haven't. But regardless, this is the answer to the question nobody ever bothered to ask. Which is rather fitting, as by the end of this movie, there are more than a few questions that remain unanswered.

A plane traveling from New York to Los Angeles on New Years Eve hits some unexpected turbulence. And then it hits some unexpected ground, leaving only a small handful of survivors. These survivors, after much panic and bickering, find that their night has gone from bad to worse as some wild animal is hunting them down and picking them off, one by one.

The entire ordeal is documented by a barely-pubescent girl with no camera training and her older sister, whose increased age doesn't translate into camera skill. But if shaky camera work bothers you, you would have given up on the sub-genre shortly after The Blair Witch Project.

I have gone on record time and again stating that I'm a fan of found footage films, so I was thrilled when IFC sent me a screener (Thanks, guys!). However, Area 407 was so overloaded with problems, that my giddiness quickly faded after I hit 'PLAY'.

For starters, the characters were shrill, one-dimensional and annoying. There was so much screaming and shrieking, I had to hold my finger poised over the volume control lest I blow out my TV's speakers and my ear drums simultaneously. The fact that these paper-thin characters continued to film everything was even harder to swallow here than in most movies of the same ilk. You know when most people stop recording? When they're climbing over severed, flaming appendages to get themselves to (relative) safety.

The animal that is stalking the survivors could have been any number of things that would have made sense, but the filmmakers went with something so out of left field that it doesn't just border on ridiculous, it knocked down those borders and welcomed refugees with open arms. Throughout the running time, we're shown only glimpses of this creature--teeth here, a tail there--because the grand reveal of what this animal really is is part of the shock ending.

Unfortunately--and maybe this had something to do with my lack of appreciation for the film--Area 407 has pulled the Great Blunder that has plagued these films for far too long--it ruins the ending by putting it in the trailer! I suppose it's in good company, though. Other movies that have used the final shot in the trailer, or poster image--sometimes both!--include Quarantine, Evil Things, and Paranormal Activity. Before long, publishers will be printing the final sentences of books on the front cover.

If you're going to see this movie, I urge you NOT to view the trailer before hand, as it will surely taint the experience.

Hell, you probably shouldn't have even read my review.


90 Minutes
United States

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