Easily one of my most anticipated direct-to-disc releases of the year was Kaare Andrews’ H.P. Lovecraftian Altitude, which not only promised high-flying creatures, but also the likes of two up-and-coming horror knockouts: Jessica Lowndes (“Masters of Horror”, The Haunting of Molly Hartley, Autopsy) and Julianna Guill (Friday the 13th, “My Super Psycho Sweet 16”). How can you lose? Easily…
Altitude is an obnoxious film suffocated by a horrendous screenplay by Paul Birkett. Starring 30-year-olds as teens, and riddled with unrealistic immature adolescent dialogue (a few examples, “What are you going to do, trash him like a leaky rubber?” “Try not to yak on me, OK sweet cheeks?” and “She’s playing hide the sausage with her tutor?”), not to mention the incredibly racist Arab jokes thrown around on two separate occasions – “OK Bin Laden?” – I hated most of the character with all of my might. For nearly 50 minutes I verbally wished, then was forced to pray for their immediate demise, to no avail.
The trailer, cover art and images tease a creature; only the audience is left wondering why it’s even in the movie. Most of the teens die because they’re morons, while this creature is only alluded to by one of the jocks whom “thinks” he saw “something”. Even more insulting is the ending that basically steals from classic “Tales from the Crypt” stories and thus eludes that it might as well have been “all a dream.”
While the CGI was obviously done on a budget, there is a certain charm to it, although director Andrews often forgets that they’re in a moving plane and leaves the camera on a steady position, thus hindering the actual impact and believability (although this is preferable over motion sickness). The creature, when actually in the movie, is goddamn epic.
Both Lowndes and Guill do the best they can to keep the movie afloat (they literally hold the film on their sexy shoulders), but it’s like watch an onstage train wreck where only two of the actors are actually taking it seriously. Even when the creature finally makes its appearance, the third act “twist” is so goddamn preposterous that it’s hard to even finish. I wouldn’t quite say Altitude is as bad as it is an abomination. EPIC FAIL.