As far as I know, Area 407 is the first one to merge the medium with Jurassic Park. It begins on a suspiciously near-empty New Year’s Eve flight from New York to L.A., and told from the perspective of two sisters who look nothing alike (newcomer Abigail Schrader and unknown Samantha Lester). They take turns documenting their entire trip with a handheld camera — a stretch, but one I’m willing to accept.
Just after the stroke of midnight, their plane is caught in turbulence so severe, it crashes. This is a truly harrowing sequence … and also the only time the movie approaches horror, thrills and suspense until literally the final shot. The hour or so in between is rote stuff, with the pool of survivors being thinned out by predators heard and (largely) unseen as they run from Point A to B to C.
And it’s just too long for such a thin story; after that particularly strong start, Area 407 can’t help but feel anticlimactic thereafter. Co-directed by feature first-timers Dale Fabrigar and Everette Wallin, the movie would make a better impression perhaps as a segment of V/H/S, the new found-footage horror anthology, than a full-length film. —Rod Lott