A Missed Opportunity At 30,000 Feet
I have never liked flying. For as long as I can remember, I have always dreaded stepping into an aeroplane whenever I went away on holiday. Even knowing that flying is the safest way to travel, the thought of being 30,000 feet up in the air has always filled me with dread. Mayday is the latest horror movie to take advantage of my fear, set exclusively during a long-haul flight. While it does have an intriguing premise, it never quite reaches the level of suspense and claustrophobia one may expect to see in these sort of films. The story certainly has potential but it’s let down by a lacklustre script and questionable acting.
The story begins with Flight 88 about to take off and with air stewardesses Lynn and Rochelle greeting passengers ready for the 8 hour journey to London. What seems like a routine flight soon turns into a nightmare as passengers disappear one by one whenever the lights flicker. What follows is a race against time while the passengers, including air marshal Anderson, try to figure out the mystery before the plane becomes completely deserted.
Looking at the story, it does have some interesting ideas and with a plane as its setting, there’s no excuse not to have tense moments and claustrophobic horror; after all, once in the air there really is nowhere to escape to. Unfortunately, Mayday never really reaches that level, stumbling through its ideas with a distinct lack of purpose. The movie does touch on the concept of death having a mind of its own, which did remind me of Final destination, but like the rest of the plot the idea is under-cooked and falls flat.
When a movie is set entirely in one place, the dialogue and acting really becomes the main focus. The entire run-time of Mayday happens in the plane and it’s here the film shows off its biggest problem. The acting from the cast feels very forced, with the exception of Michael Paré who has a decent enough presence on screen. The script is disappointing and at times there’s some eye-rolling exchanges between the two flight attendants as they argue over who has more chance romancing the air marshal.
It’s not all bad though; the movie has some decent camera shots. During take off, the camera angle is purposely low, allowing us to feel like we are actually being lifted alongside the plane and the close-up shots of the different parts of the plane does set the scene quite well. The light flickering before someone disappears is nicely implemented and the movie does have a good twist towards the end.
For anyone looking for a tense horror set in a plane, Mayday is not the film for you. The movie is greatly let down by a mediocre script and questionable acting. While there is potential here, Mayday never quite lifts off from the ground, making it a very forgettable movie. One thing’s for sure though, Mayday hasn’t made my fear of flying any worse.