Starring: Allison Williams, Alexander Dreymon, Keith David
Director: Mikael Marcimain
Running Time: 87 mins
Horizon Line is an American film about a woman and a man who find themselves stranded in a light aircraft over the ocean after their pilot has a heart attack.
A high-flying survival thriller with thrills and spills of the most preposterous nature, Horizon Line is an undeniably daft movie from start to finish, but still provides great entertainment among its most far-fetched moments. Though it starts poorly, the film takes the survival genre to a new level, with captivating action and tension right to the finish, although not quite enough to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout.
First things first, if you’re going into Horizon Line expecting a nail-biting, intense survival thriller that ranks among the genre’s best, you’re going to come out sorely disappointed. The film lacks the drama and emotional resonance of a great survival movie, but it does at least entertain with a whole heap of rapid-fire action.
The film’s opening act is undeniably weak, as it attempts to craft an emotional back story for the two characters that will ultimately find themselves fighting for survival thousands of feet in the air. Dragging on for far too long and never really stoking much of a sentimental beat, the first twenty or so minutes seem to last an eternity as you wait for some proper thrills and spills.
However, once the fun stuff does get going, it gets going really quickly. The film’s entire middle act is as far-fetched as can be, with two characters somehow able to survive in a plane without their pilot through what seems like the most ridiculous series of coincidences. But as preposterous as it is, the pacing and action make Horizon Line a whole lot of fun to watch.
Despite the attempts at drama in its opening stages, once the film settles into its main action, you stop trying to take it seriously and instead enjoy it for the crazy adventure it really is. At times, suspension of disbelief is a challenge, particularly when the characters start hanging on the outside of the plane, but there’s more than enough imagination in the film’s screenplay to keep it an entertaining watch.
You might find its finale a little bit of a cop-out after a really strong finish, but as far as an action-packed survival story goes, Horizon Line is perfectly good fun.
Where the film struggles amidst all those thrills and spills, however, is in the relationship between its two main characters. After failing to really establish good drama in the first act, Horizon Line never manages to get you to fully sympathise with its two leads as they work together to stay alive up in the sky.
The performances from Allison Williams and Alexander Dreymon too aren’t fantastic, with moments of iffy line delivery and a little bit of a lack of chemistry, but most of all a real lack of genuine fear in either of their faces.
Until the very last moments of the film, you’d be hard-pressed to know that the pair were in a life-or-death scenario, with both Williams and Dreymon smiling and laughing far too much throughout, and not putting on genuinely petrified facial expressions.
The movie’s high-wire action means that the emotional depth is less of a problem, but I felt like the two leads really weren’t doing justice to the situation they’re meant to be portraying. Maybe it’s just me, but sitting in a plane above the open ocean without a pilot sounds as petrifying a situation as can be.
Overall, though, I still liked Horizon Line. It’s by no means a perfect movie, and struggles with a boring and ineffective opening act, ridiculous action, a lack of emotional depth and often disappointing performances from its leads. However, with fun-loving action, fast pacing and impressive visuals, the movie is an undeniably daft but enjoyable watch, which is why I’m giving it a 7.1.