Jessica Lowndes in Altitude (2010)

Teens on a Plane

As a child Sarah (Jessica Lowndes) lost her mum, a pilot, in a plane accident but it didn't stop her following suit and getting her pilot licence. It is how she comes to be flying a small group of friends in a small plane for a short getaway. But with one of the passengers a nervous flier things are already tense aboard the cramped plane and they only gets worse when a malfunction causes the plane to climb up into a dark storm cloud. It is there, with fuel running low that the real trouble starts as a mysterious power starts taking control of them.

Hitchcock's "Lifeboat" but on a plane with a supernatural angle, that is what I think "Altitude" is aiming for. But it makes one fatal mistake which makes it an impossible movie to enjoy, a mistake which I will get to in a short while. But to start with, well once we are aboard this small plane "Altitude" is not bad with the claustrophobic nature of it brought to life through the attitude of the various characters. You have a nervous flier who angers others through his hysterics and you have the jock whose instinct is to shout and be violent which all adds to the tension. And director Kaare Andrews nicely explores this and a malfunction on the plane before then bringing in the supernatural aspect at about the hour mark.

The fatal mistake which is made in "Altitude" is a failure to give us just one sympathetic character. From Sarah through to Sal the jock there is no one who you can get behind and even when one does a brave thing to try and save them by trying to fix the faulty tail in mid air it does little to make you respect them. I am convinced that with a bit more effort when it came to the characters "Altitude" could have worked.

What this all boils down to is that "Altitude" despite having the potential ends up a struggle and that is mostly down to having a bunch of unlikeable characters who you couldn't really care what happens to.