407 Dark Flight 3D (2012) - Entertaining Asian horror film - 7/10 (09/07/15)
"407 Dark Flight 3D" is a fast-paced and highly entertaining Thai horror movie. Even though most reviews are quite negative and call this a trash flick with annoying characters, bad special effects and unnecessary slapstick elements, I enjoyed watching this film. Let's talk about these different elements in detail.
The story itself is quickly told. Several individual groups of characters take a plane from Bangkok to Phuket but evil ghosts end up controlling the machine. The surviving passengers must find a way to get rid of the demons but personal conflicts, bad weather conditions, lack of time and a weird secret that lies in the past are in their way.
First of all, the characters of this movie are quickly and well introduced in about twenty minutes before the tension rises. The different characters are sympathetic, evil, eccentric or ambiguous but the viewers do react to them in one way or another. The characters are definitely not shallow. The development of the complicated relationship between a powerless father who is repressed by his authoritarian wife and his disappointed rebellious daughter who is torn between studying abroad and becoming a Pilot in her home country is a strong guiding line throughout the entire movie. The romantic connection between a brave mechanic and a mysterious air hostess and the fateful love story between a charming Chinese woman and a reckless Thai man add some depth to the side characters. The acting is mostly really solid even though a few characters turn out being slightly superficial. The fearful male air hostess is the only truly annoying character but even his presence adds something to the movie in form of some slapstick elements that break with an otherwise intense horror atmosphere.
The special effects might not be up to expensive Western standards but they don't look cringeworthy either. Some of the demons look actually quite scary while others are rather exchangeable due to the limited budget. What adds to the movie is the clever use of dark colours in the settings and the outstanding lighting techniques. The claustrophobic locations such as cockpits, lavatories and load rooms are simple but really appropriate for this kind of movie. Last but not least, the sound effects are intense and the soundtrack is decent and fitting.
There are a couple of slapstick elements that try to add some diversity to the somber script that also has everything but a happy ending. Personally, I'm not a fan of this kind of humour which feels childish, distracting and superficial to me but I can understand the director's intension to keep this controversial element. First of all, it's definitely entertaining and provokes a strong reaction among viewers. Second, this element might have helped to get a lower film rating and avoid a restricted audience for an otherwise quite brutal movie. Third, this kind of humour can be found in many Asian movies and is therefor rather popular. It might feel out of place for Western audiences but it could make much more sense for those who are familiar with films from East and South-East Asia.
In the end, horror movie fans and those who like Asian cinema in general should get well entertained with this film that convinces with claustrophobic locations, intriguing characters and good light and sound effects. "407 Dark Flight 3D" might not be a breathtaking genre flick with incredible actors, an innovating plot or stunning visual special effects but it's an honest genre effort that doesn't deserve much criticism. I would definitely present this movie to some of my friends and watch it again.« Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015) - A more serious and profound approach to the series - 7/10 (17/06/15)Das finstere Tal / The Dark Valley (2014) - Something fresh and different: Heimatfilm meets western and film noir - 8/10 (13/07/15) »
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