Plane crash-based found footage horror hijinks abound with Tape 407.
Trish (Abigail Schrader) and Jessie (Samantha Lester) are two sisters on a flight back to LA after a holiday. Trish talks to and interviews various passengers, including photographer Jimmy (James Lyons), but is interrupted by the small matter of the plane crashing. The survivors have to band together, but aren’t helped by mysterious predators chasing and picking them off one-by-one.
Found footage horror has taken in many different types of locations but I can’t really remember any which start off on an airplane. The closest thing I can think of would have been Quarantine 2 if it wasn’t for the fact that the filmmakers behind that took the unusual decision of actually moving away from found footage after the first installment. Having one start on a plane then is something which makes this a little bit different; which is a good thing as the rest what’s on offer is as generic and dull as you’re likely to see.
One of the things I found perversely interesting about Tape 407 is that for an incredibly large chunk of the runtime, the filmmakers actually aren’t even trying to scare. Having a lot of the footage run in real-time gives us an awful lot of quieter moments, and in-between the panicking and the running there’s a lot of just standing around and looking scared. I’m not even saying that the film tries to scare but fails, it just doesn’t bother. Instead playing through some fairly standard “I’m a tough little girl” or “I’m fat, drunk and scared though I won’t admit it” character tropes before the narrative moves on to reveal… shock… the government aren’t always trying to help.
When Tape 407 does attempt to actually bring us some moments of tension, it’s OK enough though it’s important to note how brief these scenes are. Obviously made for a very small budget, there’s only a certain amount which can be done with big things shaking cars around and windows being smashed before something has to actually happen and unfortunately, it usually involves someone being killed with little gore. There are a couple of unexpected moments, in particular the very last shot where a lot of the budget was probably blown for one ropey looking visual effect, which in turn brings up a whole series of questions of logic which I can’t even start to comprehend.
And yet despite all of this, I can’t say I hated the movie. I’ve even seen worse stabs at horror this year, The Pact specifically, and this is helped by a game cast who are all absolutely fine, and with a child performance which didn’t grate that much. The film also knows to be less than 90 minutes, so while there are stretches of not all that much happening, at least you know the film will end soon. How’s that for damning with faint praise?
Films like Tape 407 are hard to review. There’s little to actually get your teeth into. It’s well enough acted and it didn’t make me want to punch my TV but there’s just nothing to it, the cinematic equivilent of a McDonalds, it goes down just fine but you’ll be wanting something much better while taking it in.
Onto the disc itself, and again there’s not too much to talk about. The picture is absolutely fine without being stunning, looking well enough like an HD camcorder to certainly not jar but not really doing anything too eye poppin. The PCM 2.0 soundtrack is perfectly adequate with a few decent stereo effects and an always clear dialogue track. No extras to speak of – but I don’t think you’ll really be wanting any.
A found footage horror for completists only but hey, it’s not the worst thing you could watch.
Tape 407 is out Monday 2nd July on DVD through G2 Pictures.