On the surface of it (or judging by the trailer at least) Tape 407 should be an enjoyable film.
As a passenger plane flies across America one New Years Eve, something goes terribly wrong, sending the plane hurtling to earth and killing a large number of passengers as it comes to an explosive stop.
Shocked by the incident, the survivors struggle to hold it together, but thanks to a stewardess and an air marshall they tend to the wounded and regroup.
Unfortunately though, the plane incident wasn’t the last of their problems as the territory that they crashed in seems to be inhabited by a savage animal. An animal that lurks in the shadows and likes the taste of human flesh.
The survivors now have to race for survival as they look for a means to escape this strange place and its hidden predator.
Though the idea of Tape 407 isn’t ground breaking, the fusion of ‘disaster movie’ and ‘monster movie’ is a twist interesting enough to lure in any horror fan.
The production is high quality, and the cast are all very capable. In fact the performances could hardly be faulted.
But before you rush out to buy Tape 407, basing your judgement on the slick trailer and promise of a well produced film with unique elements, there are unfortunately some bad things about it too. And when we say bad, we mean very bad.
The first is the fact that it’s a found footage film. The tapes (or memory cards going by the modern technology that the footage was apparently recorded on) were supposedly discovered by an authority of some sort in a location that isn’t confirmed. They are now evidence of an incident that took place, the details of which are very sketchy indeed.
This means that straight off (as with The Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield and any other found footage wannabe) we know – without using much common sense – that there will be no survivors. Otherwise they wouldn’t be relying on these mysterious tapes for evidence.
Secondly, being found footage, they need to find creative ways to justify the things that they need to include in the film for the sake of the production itself. One example is lighting.
How will the survivors (and the audience) see what’s going on after the crash? It happens during the night after all.
Give one of the main characters a super powered camera light which has an unlimited battery (along with the camera) and hey, why not give him a spare that he gives to someone else. And although it’s basically just a torch, have them mount it on the cameras and feel the need to record everything even though they don’t need to. Yep, they’re running for their lives but still feel the need to press the record button on their camera.
The script has issues too. The flight scene is pointlessly long. We’re talking about 10 to 15 minutes of unnecessary dialogue which could have been compressed into 5, leaving room for more exciting survival action. Although that said, the survival action isn’t great either. 5 minutes of dialogue followed by 5 minutes of running in the dark, growling and gunshots, before the cycle begins again.
Location-wise, the survivors move aimlessly back and forth between the crash site and a ghost town – everything in between is dark and blurry.
By the time the ‘government conspiracy/secret experiment’ card is played Tape 407 is likely to have exhausted your patience, making the fact that you ‘might as well watch the rest now’ the only reason why you’re likely to continue.
It’s yet another flawed found footage film, which looks the part but is lacking in many critical areas. If you watch it, you’re likely to regret the decision afterwards.