COMPANY: Suzanne DeLaurentiis Productions
RUNTIME: 90 mins
PLOT: Survivors of an airplane crash find themselves within the borders of a government testing area and pursued by mysterious predators.
REVIEW: I'll be doing a slew of dinosaur-related movie reviews over the next week in celebration of Asylum finally releasing another dinosaur movie soon. Starting with Area 407, followed in a couple days by The Dinosaur Project, followed a few days after that by Jurassic Attack (Rise of the Dinosaurs as it'll be known when it airs on the SyFy Channel later this month), and then capping it all off with next week's new Asylum release Age of the Dinosaurs.
As for my review of Area 407, well 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. 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), especially after the excellent, albeit small, promotional campaign.
Sadly, this movie fell way below my expectations. Most of the 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 shit you not, not even 10 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 somewhere 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.
On the small plus side, it 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 genre, and there was an ever-so-slight glimmer of potential here and there, but it just turned out to be a huge wasted opportunity come the time the credits rolled at the end.
3/10 rooms in the Psych Ward