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Scott W. McKinlay
A fellow scientist accidentally escapes containment aboard a plane during a turbulence. After she is gunned down by a security guard, she reanimates as a zombie, killing and infecting several passengers and crew members on board the infamous flight. A U.S. federal air marshal along with a police officer, a flight attendant and a handful of survivors must ride out the horrific flight just long to stay alive.
This demented and adorably over-the-top gory zombie flick was presented and introduced here at the Belgian Horror & Fantasy Festival by its writer/creator Scott Thomas. He claims that, in spite of all the obvious plot-similarities with "Snakes on a Plane", his film is definitely NOT a quick cash-in on the huge success of the 2006 summer-blockbuster and that the basic concept and the pre-production phase of "Plane Dead" actually predate "Snakes on a Plane". Well, I don't know if all that is true, but I tend to believe Thomas because he's such a nice guy and he seemed very confident. Moreover, even if "Plane Dead" simply was a rip-off of the popular Sam L. Jackson hit, I still wouldn't care that much, because it's such a tremendously entertaining and enthusiast splatter-flick! As long as you don't expect new and groundbreaking story lines and/or highly intellectual dialogs, "Plane Dead" honestly can't fail to amuse you. In most departments, it's even far better and more appealing to horror fanatics than "Snakes on a Plane", because it's a lot faster, cheesier, gorier and shamelessly features all the standard clichés us genre fans love so much. Safely protected in the cargo-hold of the red-eye flight from L.A. to Paris, a mysterious scientific experiment is transported out of the US by its malicious creators. The unscrupulous Dr. Leo Bennett and his loyal researchers developed a virus that rapidly destroys human DNA, only to revive the infected victim again as a bloodthirsty and unstoppable zombie. He plans to sell his formula to the military in order to create the ultimate soldier, of course, but some unanticipated turbulence and noisy passengers on the 747-flight cause the female "test-case" zombie to resurrect a little early, and she immediately begins to feast her way through crew and passengers. Once bitten, the victim turns into a zombie as well, and pretty soon the plane is overrun by seemingly more zombies than there were passengers in the first place. It perhaps takes slightly too long before the zombies run loose on the plane, but when they do "Plane Dead" turns into a non-stop series of laughs, creative deaths and extreme gore. Apparently, only stereotypes were allowed aboard this flight and it's always a lot of fun to watch those getting killed off one by one. Naturally it's the elderly pilot's last flight before retirement, there's the heroic copper who eventually has to save the day - transporting a witty criminal, arguing teen couples, sexy yet empty-headed stewardesses, couples with marriage issues and Tiger Woods' biggest competitor himself! The gore is guaranteed to please people, as the script features several ingenious new methods to kill zombies, like an umbrella through the head, nine-iron golf clubs and of course airplane engines. Be honest, what would you rather get face-to-face with whilst stuck in an inescapable location: ordinary snakes, albeit a little venomous ... or filthy, virulent, ravenous and outrageous zombies? There are quite a few recognizable faces in the cast, like Kevin J. O'Connor (the creep from "Lord of Illusions" and "Deep Rising"), Erick Avari and Richard Tyson. The lines and characters are often very funny, the make-up effects are delightfully campy in an old-fashioned way and there even is an occasional moment of genuine suspense. "Plane Dead" is awesome horror-entertainment and I hope Scott Thomas will enjoy the success he deserves with it.
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