THE MIDNIGHT SWIM (2014)
Found footage flick has three sisters reuniting at their family lakeside home to mourn the drowning death of their mother with sister June (Lindsay Burdge) documenting it. The aptly named Spirit Lake is said to be bottomless and there is a local legend about The Seven Sisters, who all drowned one night in the lake trying to save each other as they were each in turn dragged under by some force. With some strange occurrences happening while they stay there, the three women start to believe that their mother’s death was possibly not an accident and there might have been something more supernatural involved.
As written and directed by Sarah Adina Smith (Holidays), the film has some spooky moments, but focuses more on the drama between the three siblings, which isn’t anything we haven’t seen before in this kind of indie drama. There is also no real reason for this to be a POV movie and sometimes it works against the more drama intensive narrative. When the film delves into the more supernatural possibilities, it is more interesting and more effective, though it doesn’t do that often. When the three sisters are reminiscing about their mother and revealing inner pain and such, it just becomes another routine indie family drama. An interesting curiosity, with some spooky moments, but nothing that one needs urgently see. Also stars Jennifer Lafleur and Aleksa Palladino as the other sisters, Annie and Isa.
FLIGHT 7500 (2014)
Story has a flight to Tokyo, Japan experiencing some very strange and deadly supernatural phenomena. When a passenger dies of a sudden seizure, it seems to unleash a mysterious force that begins to stalk the plane and starts killing the passengers. A group of passengers band together to try to find out what is going on and stop it.
Disappointing flick from Takashi Shimizu, who wrote and directed the 90s J-horror classic The Grudge and it’s very effective sequel. It plays like a 70s B-movie disaster flick complete with a cast of cliché characters played by B-list actors like Leslie Bibb, Amy Smart, Jaime Chung, Johnathon Schaech and Halloween’s ScoutTaylor-Compton as a goth chick. It’s basically a very silly film that gets more and more silly as it goes on and evoked memories of a very similar and equally silly 1973 TV movie called The Horror At 37,000 Feet with William Shatner. It’s not all Shimizu’s fault, as it is written by Craig Rosenberg and not one of his own scripts. Given the Japanese director’s track record for creepiness, though, you’d at least expect it to be somewhat spooky. Let’s not even mention the ludicrous and cliché ending. Had a moment or two, but sadly is another example of a Japanese director working for an American studio on a project that is an insult to their talents. Now we know why this has sat on a shelf for two years.