“Altitude” follows a freshly licensed pilot as she flies her and her friends across the country for a concert. Some unexpected weather causes them to increase their altitude in order to fly above it. Once in a steady incline, the plane’s mechanics malfunction, causing them to be unable to level out. As the plane rises higher and higher, strange things begin to happen, but are they actually happening, or are they becoming delirious from the lack of oxygen?
Though the trailer would lead you to believe that “Altitude” is little more than a low budget creature feature, it’s actually much more. Instead of focusing on some poorly animated creature stalking and killing the characters, we follow them in a downward spiral to madness. The film plays with the viewers senses. I started feeling claustrophobic before the plane even left the strip. Halfway through the movie, not only was I uneasy due to the tight quarters, but completely disoriented.
The way in which the film is shot leaves the viewer completely disoriented. Shot almost entirely within a tiny airplane, it becomes hard to decipher whether the plane is still in a steep incline, or if a decline has begun. Instead of inventing some monster to try and invoke fear, “Altitude” does well to play on things that terrify you in real life. I squirmed my way throughout this entire film. Having not only a fear of enclosed spaces, but a deep fear of heights, I felt battered for the duration of the film. The best horror are those that effect you personally, and if you share these phobias, you’re in for some terror.
Though the cast of characters are as cliched as can be, the casting was excellent. Everyone plays their part in near pitch perfect harmony. Playing off of one another, making it believable that they are actually a group of friends. Since Altitude is a character study, this works well for the film, as we follow the group on a decent into insanity. The concept of delirium induced by lack of oxygen lives or dies by the cast’s performances. Had they just phoned it in, this movie would have failed completely. Thankfully, competence was shown, and this clever little story unfolds just as it should.
The setting is incredible. Though almost completely green screen, it’s highly believable, and impressive. It takes talent to pile a group of actors into a tiny airplane on a sound stage, bump it up and down and have the end product turn out not only good, but intense and original. “Altitude” is not going to be for everyone. If you’re going into the film expecting a creature feature b-movie, you’re going to be disappointed. However, if you crave psychologically terrifying stories that plays out in a brutally claustrophobic setting, this may be a hidden Halloween treat for you.
“Altitude” is available today on both DVD and Blu-Ray. Though a DVD viewing will suffice, if you have the technology I highly recommend giving the Blu-Ray a whirl. With a crystal clear 1080p presentation, and Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio, “Altitude” is sure to rock your home entertainment system.