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7500

D: Takashi Shimizu / 97m

Cast: Leslie Bibb, Jamie Chung, Ryan Kwanten, Amy Smart, Jerry Ferrara, Scout Taylor-Compton, Nicky Whelan, Alex Frost, Christian Serratos, Rick Kelly, Johnathan Schaech

Vista Pacific Flight 7500 is an overnight flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo. While the take off is routine, a bout of severe turbulence leads to a passenger (Kelly) having a seizure; despite the best efforts of travelling paramedic Brad (Kwanten) and stewardesses Laura (Bibb) and Suzy (Chung), he dies. With no immediate reason to turn back, the flight continues on but the passengers and crew encounter ever stranger events, including a life-threatening cabin depressurisation, the disappearance of the dead passenger’s body, and the lack of radio contact with Tokyo air control. As a supernatural explanation for things seems to be the most likely, Brad, his wife Pia (Smart), Laura, Suzy, and newlyweds Rick (Ferrara) and Liz (Whelan), with occasional help from fellow passenger Jacinta (Taylor-Compton), come to believe it’s all connected to the dead man, and look through his belongings for an answer. But what they find is even stranger still…

7500 - scene

At first glance, this latest offering from the director of The Grudge movies (Japanese and American) has all the hallmarks of an intriguing mystery thriller, with its characters trapped in a confined space, supernatural elements, strange occurrences, and growing sense of menace. But as so often happens with this type of movie, the script is unable to support its own premise and soon gets bogged down in one unexplained phenomena after another, making several attempts to increase the tension and heighten the dread the passengers and crew are experiencing, but falling short each time.

Further problems arise from the characters themselves, with perfunctory back stories for all that resist any depth being added, and wallow in cliché: the stewardesses with relationship problems (are there any stewardesses in the movies that don’t have relationship problems?), the couple splitting up who re-commit through being put in peril, the “wild child” who just happens to have the explanation for what’s happening, and the new wife whose OCD traits are jettisoned at the first opportunity. With so little to work with, the more than capable cast are left adrift, with Shimizu opting to focus on poorly lit visuals and less than satisfying “scares”.

By the movie’s end, 7500 has descended into a collection of disjointed and there-for-the-sake-of-it scenes that fracture the narrative beyond any possibility of recovery, and it concludes with a scene so derivative and redundant it beggars belief. (It shouldn’t be surprising then that the movie was filmed back in 2012 and has only now found a release via home video.)

Rating: 3/10 – with its cast doing just enough to achieve lacklustre performances, and Shimizu matching them with his direction, 7500 soon plummets into mediocrity; this is definitely one flight that can be missed in favour of the next one.

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