Contains MILD SPOILERS throughout...
On May 12th, Vista Pacific Flight 7500 departs Los Angeles International Airport bound for Tokyo. The take-off is routine but what transpires over the next ten hours is anything but ordinary. As the overnight flight makes its way over the Pacific Ocean, the passengers encounter what appears to be a supernatural force in the cabin.
Originally pinned for a 2012 release, the director of The Grudge Takashi Shimizu's 7500 has been long waiting a release now for 2 years, and come October the USA might actually get to have the opportunity to view this in a theater near you; however, that is not something I would advice. Expecting to see something new? Well that would just be down to your opinion on what "new" is, but if you are looking for a something to send shivers up your spin and a new-tech version of The Grudge, then look else where because you won't find it with 7500.
Powered by a strong cast, 7500 boasts a set-up that proves unstoppable due to the likes of Bibb, Kwanten, Chung, and in a sense 2007's Laurie Strode Scout-Taylor Compton, but once the story evolves the characters who initially shared some division all merge into similar conventions preventing them from developing beyond their one-dimensional image which prevents any depth or true meaning beyond the fact they're trapped on a plane with a supernatural force. The performances therefore fail to enhance the characters, resulting in half-assed acting that adds nothing to both the paper-thin characters and the overall effect. In saying this, I have to admire a lot of the cast (Chun, Compton, Bibb etc.) for adding to the little atmosphere there was originally, and their performances above all help enhance the tone of dread that lingers throughout the film. Also, Nicky Whelan added humour to a pretty dull experience which was surprising, and Mrs. Christian Serratos (who plays Rosita in The Walking Dead) was a nice addition to the cast.
Neither played off as a straight horror nor a well-developed mystery, it becomes apparent that Shimizu is never quite sure if he is trying to do a horror or a mystery, therefore we get this uneven mix between the two that's result would leave both polls wanting more. The lack of directors control here is presented through the worrying length of us over 70 minutes, and the hour long build up to a lackluster final act that trial and error comes from relaying on old-school tactics that both fail on scares and gore. The atmosphere fails to have a strong enough grasp to keep us to the end, and what does is the bizarre sense of the unknown that works in 7500's favor, and adds to the failed mystery approach that would be non-existent without it.
The main thing with 7500 however is that it never manages to provide any scares or decent sense of dread like it should, and all its high potential is wasted on a build up that fails to deliver on its promising premise and desired opportunities. It is very much a slow-burn affair, but once things start to kick into gear they are quickly dismissed and before you know it the film has come to an end, leaving us off with a satisfying ending that was certainly not worth the journey to reach. It all feels like a terrible waste considering how inspired the premise is, and when you see likes of Shimizu blow it and its cast on a flat-line delivery you can't help but wish it was in better hands, perhaps the hands of someone who hasn't forgotten how to chill, thrill and kill. That would have went a long way in 7500...
The score fails to bring the few thrills there are to life, and doesn't highlight the tone correctly in order to establish something that should be unsettling and truly creepy. When you have high hopes for a film as intriguing as this with a cast like that, which has been sitting around for years, you would think it would have offered more or at least lived up to its hype; both The Cabin in the Woods and You're Next sat around for years and look how glorious they turned out, but with 7500, expect no such thing. Biggest disappointment of 2014? Unfortunately it is; which is a real bummer.
Deprived of any scares and wastes its fascinating premise on a bland set-up that offers virtually nothing memorable aside from an interesting final act that isn't enough to save 7500 from becoming a crash and burn.