Review by Derrick Carter
Running Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for Thematic Material, some Scary Images and brief Language
Directed by: Takashi Shimizu
Written by: Craig Rosenberg
Starring: Leslie Bibb, Jamie Chung, Jerry Ferrara, Ryan Kwanten, Amy Smart, Scout Taylor-Compton, Christian Serratos, Nicky Whelan & Johnathon Schaech
Airplanes seem like an unconventional and genius setting for a horror film. It’s too bad that the recent few attempts of would-be scary movies placed within the confines of flying transportation (AIRBORNE, ALTITUDE) have been mighty lame. The same goes for most action-thrillers set inside a plane (NON-STOP, FLIGHTPLAN, TURBULENCE). The oft-postponed 7500 doesn’t do anything to buck this cinematic trend. I remember seeing a trailer for this film on the big screen in front of WOMAN IN BLACK and it has since been shelved for two full years (supposedly making its way into select theaters on October 3 and available on DVD from Thailand). There’s a reason for these release date squabbles. Putting it lightly, 7500 is a sorry excuse for a horror film that wouldn’t have made any waves in theaters and garnered quite a lot of well-deserved hatred from the general public. Also Leslie Bibb seems to have bad luck picking horror films that wind up being shelved (e.g. the masterful TRICK ‘R TREAT, the solid MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN, and this mess). I’m just saying what I’m seeing.
Flight 7500 is traveling from Los Angeles to Tokyo. The passengers on the plane come in many shapes, sizes, and walks of life. This is going to be a bumpy ride as strange happenings are occurring high in the air. Turbulence is hit, something creepy is causing trouble and not everybody will be getting off this plane alive. The best way to really sum up what little plot there is for 7500 is to say its a made of three solid TWILIGHT ZONE episodes blended into a concoction that’s not original, entertaining, or even remotely creepy.
7500’s production values are solid enough inside of the plane setting. The first shot outside showcases that not much of a budget was invested towards basic special effects though. The exterior CGI aircraft is worthy of a Syfy Channel film or direct-to-video cheapie to say the least. This is not acceptable for a big budget horror film that was originally granted a nationwide release (supposed to compete with the likes of THE already subpar POSSESSION and THE godawful APPARITION). Also the shoddy effects aren’t just limited to shots of the outside world, because the supernatural threat on board is never fully glimpsed. Takashi Shimizu was more than happy to lay a barrage of pale-faced spirits in his GRUDGE movies (some moments silly and others quite effective), but he keeps things off-screen for every supposedly spooky scene. These cut-away moments include but are not limited to: a character’s frightened reaction as something groans in front of them, white hands poking out of different places, lights shutting off, and the screen just awkwardly transitioning to the next moment with little rhyme or reason.
Making things even worse is that the plot moves at a glacial pace and never fully gets moving. A handful of lame attempts at jump scares are given (most of which involve a character suddenly putting their hand on another character’s shoulder). The horrible writing really sinks this entire film. Not to mention that the big(ish) name cast members are wasted on laughably terrible characters who aren’t worth caring about in the slightest. In true TWILIGHT ZONE fashion (the movie even has the nerve to show a clip or two from a certain notable episode starring William Shatner and a man on the wing of the plane), the film ends with a twist. However, it’s an unbelievably convoluted and predictable climax. Honestly, your first guess is probably right as to how this film ends and don’t put any imagination or effort into your predictions. In recent years, this kind of ending has become almost as bad as the “it was all a dream” cop-out.
Watching 7500, it became startlingly apparent as to why this film didn’t arrive on its intended destination of August 12, 2012. It didn’t even arrive in October 2013 and probably won’t see the light of day for a while longer (despite what IMDB states). Sometimes fantastic and original horror movies get crapped on (THE CABIN IN THE WOODS, TRICK ‘R TREAT, and I’m stoked to see Eli Roth’s THE GREEN INFERNO), but cases where the film being delayed outright sucking are also common. 7500 is one of the latter instances. It’s not a total failure as I found some scenes to be entertaining for the wrong reasons (bad acting or forced jump scares that might terrify an eight-year-old girl). If you want to see a solid horror story set in an airplane, watch the NIGHTMARE AT 20,000 FEET segment from 1983’s TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE. It’s shorter, scarier, and far more well written than 7500 could ever hope to be.