Combustible Celluloid
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With: Alexander Dreymon, Allison Williams, Keith David, Pearl Mackie
Written by: Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken
Directed by: Mikael Marcimain
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some strong language, bloody injury images, suggestive material/partial nudity, smoking and brief drug use
Running Time: 92
Date: 01/12/2021

Horizon Line (2021)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Plane and Simple

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

It has a decent idea, and it's compact and nicely-paced, but the trapped-in-a-plane thriller Horizon Line eventually nose-dives due to uninteresting characters, too little suspense, and too much preposterousness.

Loving couple Jackson (Alexander Dreymon) and Sara (Allison Williams) are living on the beautiful island nation of Mauritius, but reluctantly break up when Sara leaves for a good job in London and Jackson wishes to stay. A year later, Sara returns for the wedding of her friend Pascale (Pearl Mackie).

She and Jackson run into each other and share an unexpected night together. They next day, they find themselves taking the same single-engine plane to the wedding. When pilot Freddy (Keith David) dies of a heart-attack over the ocean, the couple must set aside their differences to find land and get down safely. But they're losing fuel, fast.

This kind of thriller can work like gangbusters if it finds the right balance between seriousness and silliness, and if it introduces characters worth caring about. Unfortunately, Horizon Line doesn't really do either. We first meet Jackson and Sara sharing a last drink, with Sara explaining that she hates goodbyes. So, to avoid one, she simply gets up and walks out while Jackson is ordering more drinks.

That's pretty slim character development, and other than their jobs, we don't really learn much more about them. Then, during the suspense part — which the 92-minute movie takes a surprising amount of time to get to — things just never seem as intense or as scary as they might have been.

Two sequences in particular, in which Jackson climbs out to duct-tape a leak in the fuel line, and when Sara climbs out to do something even more dangerous, feel completely ridiculous. The filmmakers did not seem to realize how silly these moments are, and how much fun they could have been if this silliness had been acknowledged. In the end, Horizon Line just sputters out.

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