In the interest of full disclosure you could pretty much set any movie on an airplane and count me in for the duration of the flight. Long before “Snakes” I’ve loved aviation disaster movies. I’m patently obsessed with the 70’s “Airport” series, could practically write you a production diary about the making of the “Turbulence” films (I count “Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal” amongst my all-time favorites). You just have to make sure you follow the rules of the airplane disaster genre, and if you do, I say feel free to mix it up any way you want.
Nine minutes into “Flight of the Living Dead”, when we’ve met the retiring captain and the nun I knew we were in good hands.
So, what we have going on in “Flight of the Living Dead: Outbreak on a Plane (which, by the way, is not a sequel to “Night of the Living Dead” or “Outbreak”, just in case you were confused) is a mutant malaria virus which kills you and brings you back to zombie-life. A female scientist unlucky enough to be infected is frozen, and placed under suspended animation, then placed in the cargo hold of a 747 by her husband and colleagues for reasons that are unclear to me. During a turbulent storm her “case” is broken and she escapes, killing an armed guard and beginning the zombie infection which soon spreads through the entire plane. Soon nearly everyone on board is coo-coo for co-pilot flesh.
The zombie action is fairly fierce (they’re fast zombies, for those who care about that) and I wouldn’t call it’s extremely gory, but there’s a fair amount of blood shed. The zombies mostly just keep biting passengers in the neck, which is a little repetitive, but I suppose it does the trick.
Best thing “Flight of the Living Dead” has going for it is it’s cast. Kevin J. O’Connor is in it, and while it’s kind of a repeat of the character he played in “Deep Rising”, he brings a lot of humor. Richard Tyson also appears, looking a lot like Kurt Russell, as an Air Marshall. Those two round out the more familiar faces (although there are a few more like Erick Avari as our in-flight mad scientist). Fortunately this isn’t one of those low-budget movies where the good actors get top billing and are in it for five minutes. Tyson and O’Connor are around for the duration, which helps support the other actors and props up the movie a few notches.
The ending is typically reliant on a lot of CGI effects, but for the most part they’re done well and don’t end up looking cheap. That’s really the impressive thing about “Flight of the Living Dead”, this is another direct-to-DVD release that didn’t have to be anything other than a cheap throwaway, but it never feels that way. It’s not original, it’s not much of anything you haven’t seen before, but for what it is, it works.