TAPE 407: THE MESA RESERVE INCIDENTMovies — By Mark Kaplan on September 23, 2011 at 7:56 pm
By Mark Kaplan
Hollywood’s Best Film Directors
In the grand tradition of all great horror classics, Tape 407: The Mesa Reserve Incident starts out ponderously normal and then like a bolt out of the blue, steadily scares the bejesus out of you. Honestly, what’s more frightening than being on a routine flight home when your seemingly safe transport hits some really bad turbulence and instead of quickly calming down like it usually does, it just keeps getting worse and worse until the plane literally starts falling out of the sky? And that’s just in the first few minutes of the movie.
The film uses the technique of handheld “found footage” made famous by Paranormal Activity, Cloverfield and The Blair Witch Project, which craftily adds to the heightened sense of impending doom. Taped mostly by Tricia (Abigail Schrader), and her older sister Jess (Samantha Lester) the movie begins by capturing every passenger and mundane moment of a seemingly routine flight home to Los Angeles on New Years Eve, that is, until the aforementioned turbulence and subsequent crash into a nightscape of unspeakable terror, taking the viewer on a roller coaster ride into hell. The well written screenplay is performed quite admirably by a cast of new faces, who quickly distinguish themselves with seemingly improvisational yet totally authentic performances. And without giving away any details, the story reveals how a group of strangers rely on each other for survival under extraordinary and horrifying circumstances. Some characters surprise us with their actions, while others don’t. The fun is in trying to figure out who will do what and who will die when. And yes, lest we forget, the story does include the requisite, ravenous but barely seen monster, that is slowly killing off the remaining survivors, culminating in a shock ending that will jump you out of your seat.
Tape 407: The Mesa Reserve Incident may not win over any Academy Awards voters, but it should win over a satisfied following that will be glad they paid the price of admission.