PLOT: Survivors of an airplane crash on New Years Eve find themselves within the borders of a government testing area and pursued by mysterious prehistoric predators.
RUNTIME: 90 mins
REVIEW: Overall I love found-footage flicks. It seems most people hate them, but I really do love them and try to watch each new one as it comes out (a task that proves far more difficult than you would think). All of that can also be said for dinosaur flicks as well, as I’ve always been a huge dinosaur fanboy for as far back as I can remember. Suffice to say that between those two loves, I was really looking forward to Area 407 (Known as Tape 407 during production) upon its initial release, especially after the excellent, albeit small, promotional campaign.
Sadly, this movie fell way below my expectations. Most of the actual action and all of the deaths happen entirely off-screen. The most you ever see of the dinosaurs is exactly what you see in the trailer – I kid you not, not even 20 seconds worth. It’s filled with dreadful acting and characters making choices that are beyond idiotic and things they should have known better on. I read in an interview that all the dialog is ad-libbed and improvised on the spot, and it painfully shows as the actors are constantly bumbling over their lines and repeating information they already gave us a few minutes before but treating it like its new information, and going over the exact same arguments and conversations with one another just worded differently. It really was just painful to sit through.
On the small plus side though, this movie actually has really good sound effects for the dinosaurs and an excellent overall creepy atmosphere throughout the entire thing, and I felt it did a great job in the first 10-15 minutes with setting up all the characters and letting us get to know them before the plane crash happens, which in itself is actually a really strong and terrifying scene – one of the only in the whole film.
In the end though, the terrible acting, ad-libbing, and character choices, in addition to most of the action actually happening off-screen and lack of dinosaur footage really does bring this one down to a point where not even the positives I mentioned can save it. The premise is ripe for mining, especially in the Found Footage sub-genre, and there was an ever-so-slight glimmer of potential here and there throughout, but it just turned out to overall be a disappointment come the time the credits rolled at the end.