Planes and Hollywood have a long and colorful history together dating back to classics like Flight of the Phoenix (1965) and what is arguably the world’s finest parody movie Airplane! (1980) to modern classics like Flight (2012) and based-on-a-true-story Sully (2016). One thing seems to remain constant throughout: nearly all of these movies make you second guess ever getting on a plane yourself. Whether it be because of the fear of getting hijacked by terrorists, experiencing engine malfunctions or even encountering fantastical beasts, there always seems to be something ready to ruin what is probably the most efficient form of long distance transportation. With that in mind, here are 7 movies that will make you second guess ever getting on a plane.
7 Snakes on a Plane
“I’ve had it with these motherf–kin’ snakes, on this motherf–kin’ plane!” exclaims Samuel L Jackson’s Neville Flynn in this 2006 high flying bombastic action flick from David R. Ellis. The sentiment is pretty understandable too given the circumstances. In Snakes on a Plane, FBI Agent Neville Flynn has found himself on a passenger plane full of a whole load of deadly snakes that have been released in an attempt to kill a trial witness. Audiences definitely feel sorry for the passengers on this flight, especially those who not only had to overcome a fear of flying but are also Ophiophobes, and now have their fear of snakes to contend with too, as well as trying to stay alive as well, obviously.
When people think of movies about ‘gaslighting’ (a colloquialism, loosely defined as making someone question their own reality) a few movies instantly spring to mind. There’s the 1944 movie ‘Gaslight’ in which the term originated, Changeling, Girl on a Train, and Flightplan. Flightplan is a 2005 mystery psychological thriller film directed by Robert Schwentke starring Jodie Foster as Kyle Pratt. Kyle is flying back to the UK with her daughter and her husband’s body only to lose her daughter during the flight. Not only is she stuck in the claustrophobic confinement of an airplane hurtling through the sky at around 900 kph, she’s also being told by everyone she speaks to that her daughter was never on the plane, bringing into her question her own sanity.
David and Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams’ 1980 directorial debut Airplane!, starring the late, great Leslie Neilson, is a masterclass in comedy. The ‘puntastic’ slapstick, disaster movie parody also addresses a major concern most plane passengers have probably experienced at one point, and that is ‘is airplane food as bad as it looks?’ In this case, it most certainly is and then some, as most of the plane falls victim to severe, debilitating food poisoning, including the pilots! This is definitely not a situation you would ever want to find yourself in. To top it off, there’s a critically ill child on board the plane en route to get an organ transplant, who is almost killed by an over-zealous guitarist who knocks out the girl’s IV line.
4 Red Eye
One of Hollywood’s masters of horror, Wes Craven delivered this airborne psychological thriller starring Cillian Murphy, Rachel McAadams and Brian Cox in 2006. Who doesn’t like a few pre-flight bevvies at the airport bar? If you’re flying alone, especially on an overnight ‘red eye’ flight, it can be a nice way to pass that annoying waiting period before boarding. Meeting someone you get on with at the bar, who happens to be on the same flight, might seem like a nice turn of events and further help pass that time. What if that newly acquainted stranger turns out to be an international terrorist, and you find out you’ve been ensnared into his assassination plot? That’s exactly what happens in the edge-of your-seat thrill ride Red Eye, which will certainly have viewers second guess getting on a plane, especially with strangers they’ve just picked up at the bar.
3 Shadow in the Cloud
Shadow in the Cloud has been described as ‘part creature feature, part war movie, and part social commentary’ and ‘a sincere but silly mash-up of WWII dogfights, gremlin chaos, and feminism in action’ and yes, the result is as crazy as it sounds. Chloë Grace Moretz leads this genre mash up with aplomb as she fights off enemy soldiers and one hell of an actual, very determined, gremlin at 30 odd thousand feet in the air. The origins for this seemingly strange story come from the early days of aviation when pilots would often blame ‘gremlins’ for inexplicable malfunctions with the aircrafts, Shadow in the Cloud just took this notion a little more literally. Seriously though, the last thing we need to add to the things to heighten our anxiety while flying is the potential of being attacked by a ravenous fantastical creature.
2 Final Destination
Final Destination, released in 2000, was the first installment in what turned out to be an extremely successful horror franchise consisting of five movies, with a sixth reportedly in development. It features a horrific plane accident in which the plane explodes on take-off killing every passenger on board. Fortunately, one passenger had a premonition about the accident, and acting on instinct decided, along with some friends, not to board the plane. A narrow escape, one would think, only in this franchise there is no escape from death, when it’s your time, it’s your time. The rest of the movie then follows each of the survivors as we witness their increasingly gruesome demises. This movie doesn’t only make you second guess ever getting on a plane, but even purchasing the ticket in the first place, or even leaving the house at all.
1 Die Hard 2
Taking place on Christmas Eve—it’s up to you to decide if that makes this a Christmas movie or not)—our favorite hard-boiled, wise cracking, no nonsense cop John McClane, played by Bruce Willis, finds himself in another predicament in Die Hard 2: Die Harder. Waiting for his wife to land, he discovers terrorists have taken over the air traffic control system. Naturally, he takes it upon himself to stop the terrorists before his wife’s plane and several other incoming flights that are circling the airport run out of fuel and crash, despite much resistance from airport police and a military commander. There are countless casualties, multiple shootouts and a lot of bad language but ultimately good prevails over evil and McClane is reunited with his wife. Definitely not a film American Airlines will be endorsing in order to improve business.
John Stamos felt Bob Saget was oddly calm and ‘at peace somehow’ on the last day he ever saw his longtime friend.
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