FLIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD: OUTBREAK ON A PLANE
The other clear influence on Flight of the Living Dead is Snakes on a Plane (2006), which came out six months earlier. Snakes on a Plane was conceived in terms of scriptwriters throwing a standard disaster movie together with the most absurd thing they could think of. The films tongue-in-cheek approach caught on and several other filmmakers tried to offer similar wacky collusions The Asylums Snakes on a Train (2006), Swarm (2007) with ants on a plane, Silent Venom (2009) with snakes on a submarine, Howl (2015) with a werewolf on a train and Lost in the Pacific (2016) with mutant cats on a plane. The zombies on a plane concept was also done in Quarantine 2: Terminal (2011), while the hit South Korean Train to Busan (2016) successfully transferred the zombie film aboard a train.
The surprise about Flight of the Living Dead is that it doesnt go the tongue-in-cheek route of Snakes on a Plane, even though it is a far more absurd film (potentially). I know there are various other reviewers out there that call it a parody, a zombie comedy and so forth. However, beyond the title, which spoofs the classic zombie film Night of the Living Dead (1968), everything is played straight. There is the usual cross-section of improbable characters that you get in a disaster movie the passenger complement including a celebrity golfer clearly modelled on Tiger Woods, two jocks and their girlfriends (where one of the jocks is having an affair with his friends girl), a nun, an Interpol agent and his prisoner who is a wanted conman, Richard Tyson as an air marshal and an aging pilot captain on his last flight before his retirement. You keep waiting for the film to either start subverting or wickedly parodying such characters akin to something like The Big Bus (1976) or Airplane/Flying High (1980) but this never happens.
When the zombie outbreak occurs, Scott Thomas keeps the action fierce and moderately bloody. There are some rather entertaining effects a zombified Erick Avari thrown out of the plane and being splattered in the jet engine; the nun having her legs chewed off and being left to crawl about on her stumps; a zombified businessman blasted out a hole in the side of the plane while still aboard his seat and slammed into the front of a trailing fighter jet. While neither redefining nor setting any genre tropes alight, Scott Thomas delivers a vigorous and entertaining run through of the zombie film basics.
This was the sixth film for director Scott Thomas who had previously made action films and human dramas. Thomass most high-profile work was as a producer on the animated tv series X-Men (1992-6).