An instant classic that's up there with "Dog Soldiers" for originality, "Flight of the Living Dead" deserved much more than a direct-to-video release. It just goes to show that sometimes great horror does go straight to DVD. It was one of the best zombie films of 2007, which is saying quite a bit in a year that saw "28 Weeks Later".
The concept is simple, but during the first 45 minutes of the film I didn't think they were going to pull it off right. A team of renegade scientists are transporting a body that has been reanimated via a gigantic commercial flight. An armed guard stands watch over the corpse in the cargo hold.
There's also a convict (Kevin O'Connor) being transported cross country as well. He manages to disappear on the flight while going to the bathroom. Both the officer assigned to transport him (Davis Chisum) and an air marshal head down to the cargo hold looking for him, and of course stumble across the reanimated corpse down there. The cast is full of unknowns, although fans of "Pet Sematary" will get a kick out of seeing Dale Midkiff in a movie again.
The first half of the film is a bit slow, and you know what the plot will inevitably bring about: the resurrected corpse and a thoroughly infected aircraft. After about 50 minutes the film kicks into high gear, and the last half are what make the ride worthwhile.
When anarchy does strike on the plane it actually is quite scary. One obvious "elephant in the living room" element to this film is what is clearly a subconscious 911 connection. Despite the fact that zombies are taking over the aircraft, something similar happened on Sept. 11, 2001. This film bears more than a passing resemblance to the serious Paul Greengrass 2006 film "United 93." Like that film, it takes place more or less in "real time". Unlike that film, some people survive at the end.
Director Scott Thomas demonstrates a real understanding of suspense and horror with his debut in the horror genre. This film also bears a lot of resemblance to "Dog Soldiers" – another little horror movie that made waves on video before launching the career of its director, who of course went on to make "Descent."