You know, I almost didn’t review Alex Tavakoli’s Skybound because I thought it was another Asylum turd. Luckily, I went against my better judgement and gave it a watch. As it would turn out, Skybound is actually far better than anything you’ll find on the SyFy channel, even if the plot flies parallel with some of their content. What sets this title apart from other entries in its category boils down to two things: ingenuity and proper pre-production planning. Most scifi-thriller disaster movies fail and pale in comparison to Skybound because they rely way too much on underwhelming CGI. That makes the film look low budget, and it comes across as comical and cheap more than a product aimed to keep you on the edge of your seat. In the case of Skybound, the production was able to nab realistic set locations – or maybe they even filmed inside a real plane – and used a ton of different angles from inside the cabins. This, quite geniusly, cut down on the use of CGI and propelled this film forward with an air of believe-ability. The extra effort behind the camera was worth the headaches because it resulted in a film that can be taken seriously while also avoiding a B-movie labeling.
In contrast to such a professional and high quality production, the plot of Skybound is boiled down to simple, real-life fear. A small group of friends take off in a private jet, only for the world to crumble beneath them. Fear takes flight on all sides as they struggle with internal and external forces, including whether a madman is on board the plane and why the world below them has been left in ruin. Will they run out of food, supplies and fuel? Will they find a safe place to land? Find out in this scif-thriller disaster flick from writer, producer, director Alex Tavakoli. Skybound is currently available on VOD via High Octane Pictures, and it’s the perfect December watch considering it takes place on December 27th. It stars a small cast consisting of Scarlett Byrne (“Falling Skies,” “The Vampire Diaries”, Gavin Stenhouse (“Allegiance”), Rick Cosnett (“The Flash,” “Quantico”), Morten Suurballe (“The Killing”), Tyler Fayose and Carla Pimentel. Together, they’re expertly highlighted on screen by cinematographer Pana Costoglou and editor Marc Steinicke. Skybound was co-produced by Benjamin Hofmann and Sven Strehl.
I guess you can say Skybound keeps the audience on their toes with a rational fear every flier experiences. What if the plane goes down? What if the plane loses contact with those on the ground? What if there’s no safe place to land, people are getting into lovers’ quarrels, someone’s been shot, and a part of the jet is breaking? That all happens here. It’s like Air Force One without terrorists, or Flight 7500 without ghosts. Lots of claustrophobia and lots of drama and mystery with no where to go but down. And I must say, the way Alex Alex Tavakoli rolls out the plot is very smart. It doesn’t happen all at once, and I found the part where the radar doesn’t work to be the most chilling.
Although Skybound is better than any late night disaster flick you’ll find on SyFy, it does have its faults. I hated the font in the opening credits. I felt disconnected to the characters because they were so rich and glamorous. Speaking of characters, with such a small cast on the bill, it was easy to spot two weak links in terms of performance. Throw in a few scenes that were a tad bit too dark, a few audio errors, flaming buffaloes (you read that right), and a few rough lines of dialogue… and you know what? I actually still enjoyed it! Skybound was an above average disaster thriller that mixed action, drama, and a smidgen of scifi with great success and fluidity. And what happens if/when the plane lands? You’ll just have to see for yourself. I’d definitely recommend this one to folks who liked Snakes on a Plane or Airplane vs. Volcano. Only this one’s better.
Final Score: 7 out of 10