The Movie Waffler New Release Review (VOD) - SKYBOUND | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review (VOD) - SKYBOUND

skybound review
An inexplicable occurrence prevents a passenger plane from landing.

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Alex Tavakoli

Starring: Scarlett Byrne, Gavin Stenhouse, Rick Cosnett, Morten Suurballe, Tyler Fayose, Carla Carolina Pimentel

skybound poster

Airplanes and horror don’t always make good bedfellows, with the majority of attempts mostly mining the ‘thriller/horror’ genre such as Red Eye (good) or Snakes on a Plane (bad). Strict air-bound horrors such as The Langoliers, Flight of the Living Dead or Altitude are mostly total failures (though I must admit to a love of Altitude with its bad acting but great script).

This film falls somewhere in that comfortable midpoint between the successes and failures.

Skybound begins with a philosophical voiceover, so you know right away that this film takes itself a little more earnestly than your average pulpy ‘horror on a plane’ genre movie.

The film quality is professional and impressive from the get-go, with gorgeous lighting and creative direction, which means that whatever its failing may be, it's always pleasant to watch.


Good looking rich boy Matt (Rick Cosnett) and his girlfriend Lisa (Scarlett Byrne) are on their way to a three day LA adventure; he’s whisking them away in Daddy's private plane with some friends (Odin - Tyler Fayose, and Roxy - Carla Carolina Pimentel) who introduce themselves to the main couple by almost running them over with their car - hmmm companionable!

Matt’s younger brother and resident bad boy Kyle (Gavin Stenhouse) shows up speeding in on the family motorcycle to hand off the jet keys (not sure why), and you just know he’s gonna be the fly in the ointment.

The ladies bond over the fact that Matt hasn’t tried to kiss Lisa yet. “Unfortunately” she says, dismayed, though how that can be in the context of them going away together for three nights makes little sense.

They board, and then the four friends gush over the plush aircraft, which treats us to a mini-tour of the set for the rest of the movie.

Kyle, through a convoluted series of events, has to co-pilot, which just amps the tension among the group, as it turns out Lisa has a past romantic history with Kyle (which Matt didn’t know about???) but he assures big brother that it was nothing serious and he’s happy for them to date. (Uh huh, suuuure).

We take off, Odin and Roxy immediately join the mile high club, and before they can even zip up there is a plane malfunction that means they have no radar or radio.

They discover Eric the stowaway (Morten Suurballe), who was ‘looking for food’ (but who obviously has slightly more sinister intentions than that) and with no way to offload him, are seemingly stuck with this odd stranger in awkwardly close quarters.

Turns out Eric is packing, and someone dramatically gets shot.

Looking to land, they see dozens of planes circulating the sky above Chicago. Apparently there is nowhere safe to land, and every plane in the sky also has a malfunctioning ‘collision avoidance’ due to magnetics in the thunderstorm our plucky crew previously flew through.


There’s a mini mutiny on-board the plane when Matt wants to go back to the dangerous skies of Chicago to treat the gunshot victim instead of continuing on to the possible safety of Kansas, but eventually it's decided that unqualified Lisa can attempt a skybound bullet removal. This is not totally believable, but I’ve certainly seen worse, though I think someone who is turning septic would look a little more sweaty/pale/pained and would not wake up like they’ve just taken a sweet little nap.

After a failed attempt to land and sightings of strange things in the skies, a truth is stumbled upon in a newspaper that points to a more terrestrial cause, and the idea of survival seems even less likely to the intrepid crew.

The filmmakers ask us to develop sympathy for a character we have previously seen attempt to kill Lisa, and then someone bizarrely falls into the quickest diabetic coma I’ve ever seen (clearly the director has done no research into the two medical incidences on-board the plane) and it seems he is no longer a factor in the rest of the film.

After realising what is happening on the ground, ditzy Roxy shows hidden strengths and the crew come up with a nifty solution to their problem.

When the nifty solution isn’t quite enough there’s a more risky solution and this one is handled believably and with the right amount of gravity; it's the film's strongest set piece and leads to a satisfying conclusion.


Skybound features all the right touchstones for a disaster/horror - the teary call to home when all is lost, the ‘hidden strength that saves the day’ moment, the sacrifice, the ‘ulterior motive’ character etc., but it unfortunately takes itself far too seriously and fails to embrace the hokey fun of such movies. Some dialogue is very clunky and melodramatic, the acting is adequate but nothing special, the storyline sometimes too messy for something that should be so simple.

Long stretches of talking in the same small space can grow tiresome quickly, so it's good that this film wraps up in under an hour and a half.

For first time writer/director Alex Tavakoli this isn’t a bad freshman effort, but here’s hoping his next will be more fun than this one.

Skybound is on VOD now.