The other day I saw a trailer for Takashi Shimizu’s Flight 7500 while I was perusing through Hulu. The trailer quickly had me intrigued as the plot seemed based around some sort of paranormal creature that is set loose on a plane, and Takashi is the creator of The Grudge after all. While the movie didn’t quite live up to the hype I was hoping, it was mostly a waste of time to watch. There were still some things I liked about the movie though, and some other things that I felt you all needed to know before diving into this Horror Mystery flick.
The Cast is Stacked
One of the first things that drew me in before I even watched the trailer was the cover for the movie. Ryan Kwanten (AKA Jason Stackhouse from HBO’s True Blood) is front and center, and alongside him we see Amy Smart (Just Friends, The Butterfly Effect) and Jerry Ferrara (Entourage, Think Like a Man). Behind them both stands Leslie Bibb (Talladega Nights, Iron Man), and we are quickly introduced to both Jamie Chung (Office Christmas Party, Gotham) and Nicky Whelan (Hall Pass, Knight of Cups).
Another random tidbit that many, including myself, didn’t notice at first: The Co-pilot of flight 7500 is none other than the rapper/producer David Banner! Granted I don’t think he had more than two lines throughout the entire movie, but I still love when musicians I know make cameos in movies like these. Overall, the acting was pretty solid by all of the above characters. I just wish the plot would’ve been a touch better so they could’ve truly showcased their abilities and maybe bumped this movie up a few pegs on the rating scale.
“Horror, Mystery, Sci-fi” Description is Only One Third Correct
To be brutally honest, this movie was on the opposite side of the spectrum of scary. It wasn’t even much of a mystery (unless of course you’re talking about the final two minutes of the movie that makes literally zero sense whatsoever).The only part of the genre that is somewhat “accurate” is the Sci-fi piece, and even that barely holds true. I think we get two, maybe three, glimpses of the shinigami throughout the movie. And there are a few scenes where it looks like supernatural things are occuring (crumpling of water bottles, fingers turning blue, etc.), but almost all of them are explained away by the bad cabin pressure within the aircraft. There is ,of course, the creepy rolling fog interspersed throughout the movie, but even that is only used four or five times. Not to mention, two of those times occur within the bathroom for poor Raquel (played by Christian Serratos btw).
There were a few times where they had potential for some jump scares, but even those were completely obvious they were about to happen. Flight 7500 also takes quite a while to get going. I noted that the first bit of action (outside of the main death) happened almost 33 minutes into the movie. You may be thinking, “Oh thats not too bad.” But the movie is only 79 minutes in length, and 12ish is solely intro and credits. Plus, the main death was somewhat gruesome yet everything after that happens off-screen. No cool shinigami effects or anything! All in all, I would give this movie a 1/10 in the horror rating, another 1/10 for mystery, and a 5/10 on Sci-fi (because the lore behind the shinigami was actually interesting lol).
The Scariest Part of This Movie Was the Real Fears of Flying
I don’t fly very often, but when I do I typically have no issues with it. However, this movie did a great job of playing off of people’s real fears while flying. The turbulence is a big one for most people, which is understandable because the jolting of the plane can lead to structural damage. Which leads us to the second fear of bad cabin pressure and having to use those strange masks that drop from the roof. This is where I would freak out on a plane. Turbulence doesn’t bug me unless it gets really awful, but if one of these masks drops in my face I’m going to lose my shit and think the plane is going down. Next up is the death of a passenger, or more specifically the death of a pilot in the middle of a flight. I know this isn’t something that happens often (MedAire released a statistic in 2010 saying of their 40 million commercial flights they only had 94 in-air medical emergency deaths), but I am not trying to see a dead body on a plane. Finally, everyone’s biggest fear… bad seatmates. I thought the movie hit the nail on the head here with all of the judging done by the two stewardesses and Nicky Whelan. In fact, the movie nailed most of the details surrounding airplanes in general, which may be the scariest part of all.
After doing a little bit of research, I found that these creatures are actually extremely interesting. They’re oft referred to as gods or supernatural spirits that invite people to their deaths, and in some cultures are actually described as helpers or fallen angels. In the Edo period literature of these spirits, they would typically possess a human in an attempt to harm themselves or others. There are also other creatures across other religions that are very similar to shinigami and often regarded as the same class of evil. With all of this being said, I don’t think I necessarily like the way Takashi took the creature in his film. It is described as, “a being who collects peoples souls after they die, but only if they let go of whatever is holding them to this world.” Essentially, he took this badass god of death and turned it into a measly spirit that collects souls by tormenting people into realizing they need to let go of whatever is holding them to this earth. I think this could’ve been done better, and if the shinigami is actually a creature of death why would you whitewash the entire death aspect of the creature?
An Ending Nobody Needed
Before the final two minutes of the movie, I honestly didn’t think this movie was overly terrible. Even though it wasn’t scary, or even a mystery, it still had enough to keep me interested as to how the characters were going to overcome the shinigami. And then we find out that every single person on the plane has already died, and that they won’t be free unless they let go of the things holding them to this world? This poses so many questions it’s not even funny… like if this was the entire point of the movie, why did we see some people die by such vague “monsters”. For instance, the stewardess down in the cargo hold, what was holding her to this world that caused her to be killed by a monster hand? Or what about bathroom stall Raquel? I can see that she was fighting with the concept of becoming a mother, but how does a shadowy toilet monster killing her show that? I’m just saying, that if the whole purpose was to show people moving on from what was holding them back, why not give us more detail (or simply show us) on their deaths. And how could I leave out the final scene where we see Nicky Whelan attacked by a trash bin hand… does this mean she is now “infected” with the shinigami and somehow survived the plane’s cabin pressure issue AND the crash? The ending just causes more confusion than necessary, and I wish Takashi would’ve taken a different approach to end the movie.
I honestly don’t suggest watching this movie if you have anything else on your list, but if you have nothing to do give it a shot. Maybe you will be able to take more away than I did, which if you do please reach out to me and explain your thoughts haha! But at the end of the day, this movie gets a 4/10 from me. It had tons of room for improvement, and the ending made it drop a few points, but overall it isn’t the worst movie I’ve ever seen.