AREA 407 (2012) Review

Directed by: Dale Fabrigar, Everette Wallin
Starring: Abigail Schrader, Samantha Lester, Melanie Lyons

After watching APARTMENT 143 recently I thought I was completely over these found footage type films. I had to give this one a chance though because it promised something new, in the form of dinosaurs. Yes, dinosaurs. Could this finally be the movie to restore my faith in the found footage genre? Well it turned out to be a little better than I had expected, but a lot worse than I'd hoped.

Two sisters are boarding a plane from New York to Los Angeles on New Year's Eve. A camera (in this case a Canon DSLR with uncharacteristically good audio quality) is used to introduce them and then the rest of the key characters as they make their way down the aisle to their assigned seats. For some reason all of the passengers (well except for one) seem to be a little too happy. In my experience it seems pretty hard to find a happy passenger on a plane, but whatever. The younger sister Trish (Schrader) who is controlling the camera seems to be hell-bent on annoying as many people as she can, waving the camera around in their faces and asking a barrage of questions. One of the passengers seated directly behind them turns out to be a photojournalist. What a coincidence! So obviously he has a whole bag full of camera equipment and lights etc.
After the passengers count down to midnight (gee this is a long flight) the plane hits turbulence and finally crash lands.
The survivors gather together and try to figure out what to do next. When no rescue crew shows up and they start hearing inhuman noises out in the darkness, they realize that something is very wrong.

I didn't realize this while watching the movie, but according to its IMDb page AREA 407 was filmed in only 5 days and all of the actors' dialogue was ad-libbed. If this is true then I have to give props to the actors because most of the dialogue did seem pretty genuine and realistic even if it wasn't very consistent.
The low budget showed in two big ways. Firstly is the fact that it was shot found footage style, which is fine. But the other way it showed was in the creature effects, even though you didn't really see a lot of them. What you do see though is pretty lame but at least (for the most part) they didn't use any CGI.

Most of the film post-crash is composed of the dwindling survivors running around in the dark, screaming and arguing a lot. The argument scenes where everybody is trying to yell over the top of everybody else got on my nerves a bit, but I guess it's realistic as you would probably find it extremely difficult to remain calm in such a situation.
Thankfully however, there was enough action and tension to help counter these negative aspects at least a little. And the ending was actually really good, if not a little predictable All in all it was a nice movie with a good, original concept but it just came up a little short in most departments. Worth seeing if you're a found footage nut, but otherwise I probably wouldn't bother. I have to give kudos to the film-makers for trying something new within the sub-genre but I don't think I'll be revisiting this one again.

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