Also known as Tape 407, this found footage would have been much better left undiscovered.
The story follows two sisters on a trip, just as they are boarding a passenger plane on New Year's Eve. The younger sister, Trish (Abigail Schrader) is the one toting the cam, so we mostly hear her and see the elder sister, Jessie (Samantha Lester). The longer you listen to Trish's bad banter and never-ending, grating chatter, you long for the olden days in which the motto was, "Children should be seen, and not heard."
Not that seeing is so much better than hearing when it comes to Area 407. Trish isn't much of a videographer, swinging the camera wildly while apparently jumping up and down, she wields the device like a maniac, even when her subjects are sitting completely still. Call it shakes on a plane.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm not generally a fan of the found footage conceit. Hopefully they also know that I'm fair and open-minded. I can get with the program as long as there's a good script. I loved Chronicle. [Rec] 2 was terrific. Quarantine was really good. I see a lot of found footage films… and I have to say, without a doubt, Area 407 is one of the worst.
The dialogue, hopefully ad-libbed by clueless actors and not actually written by anyone, is atrocious. "Nice banana." "We've just been wandering around in circles, here." "We're sitting ducks." "Just shut the camera down. Shut it down!" (if only…) Maybe the actors also filmed it.
The plane crashes, of course. I understand and appreciate the film is low-budg, but talented, intelligent filmmakers can create suspense and tension from basically nothing. What we get here is basically nothing. Then we follow the bloody band of survivors on the ground (hence, the "just wandering around in circles") for, like, ever.
Turns out the vessel crashed in a remote government-testing reserve known as Area 407. This isn't the top secret experiment in which everyone is granted eternal youth, wealth beyond all imagining, and I.Q. boosts — nope, this is the top secret experiment in which poorly rendered CGI dinosaurs walk the earth.
Area 407 was released today nationwide on IFC Midnight Cable VOD and Digital Outlets (SundanceNOW, iTunes, Amazon Streaming, XBOX Zune, Playstation Unlimited) and select theaters.
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Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson