Review: ‘No Way Up’

Forget “Snakes on a Plane” It’s Sharks on a Plane!!

Even though science and reality have proven otherwise (there are less than 100 shark attacks worldwide a year compared to how many sharks people kill), sharks are still scary as shit! Ever since Jaws came out in 1975, folks have been hesitant to go too far into the ocean out of fear of these prehistoric apex predators. And Hollywood has no problem continuing the trend with such flicks such as Deep Blue Sea, 47 Meters Down, Open Water, The Shallows, and of course The Meg. The survival shark movie No Way Up gives us yet another reason to never want to go in the water with such an interesting yet ridiculous premise.

Ava (Sophie McIntosh) is the daughter of the governor. She’s been studying for the bar, but decided instead to support her father by joining a tech startup that her father is supporting. But before she does that, she’s off to Cabo with her boyfriend Jed (Jeremias Amoore), his friend, Kyle (Will Attenborough), and her personal bodyguard Brandon (Colm Meaney) for a little bit of sun and fun. At the airport, she also meets married couple Hank (James Carroll Jordan) his wife Mardy (Phyllis Logan), and their granddaughter, Rosa (Grace Nettle) for a little bit of sun and fun. As everyone gets on the plane, they notice that this plane isn’t fully packed, and it’s due to the condition of the plane which looks like it’s being held by duct tape like a combination of the worst of Alaska Airlines, Spirit, and Southwest.

On the plane, we also meet flight attendant Danilo (Manuel Pacific) whom Kyle immediately starts making gay jokes about (almost hinting that Kyle might be projecting and, in the closet,), but eventually, the plane takes off. The flight in No Way Up seems to be going all right, but then a flock of birds hit the engine, which starts to catch on fire and all hell breaks loose. As the plane starts coming apart and there are massive fatalities of the unnamed passengers, it crashes into the ocean. The explosion created a hole in the side of the plane and it crashes into the ocean, flooding the plane. Lucky for them being in the back of the plane and the position of the aircraft, they are in an air pocket that allows them to keep breathing. Of course, they are about a hundred feet underwater…. And their troubles are just now starting!

It’s the ocean, so of course, sharks start getting curious about this new buffet that landed in their backyard. Thanks to the hole in the side of the aircraft, they have access to a supply of dead passengers, and they are also curious about the live passengers for their doggy bags. Bodyguard Brandon is experienced (after all he’s Chief O’Brien!) as earlier in the film showcases his talent for scoping out dangers, so he quickly starts to assess the situation and plan for their escape and survival.

Now most sharks will browse, bite out of curiosity, and move on, but the sharks in No Way Up are friggin serial killers. Not only do they try and foil every chance at escape and the survivors navigate ways to escape to the surface and start picking people off one by one, but they also deal with the Coast Guard search and rescue divers that are trying to save them as well. Not only are the survivors having to deal with the sharks, but the plane is stuck on the edge of a ravine that is slowly sinking further and further deep into the ocean. The longer everyone stays there, the less chance for survival they have.

In order for Ava and crew to escape, a bunch of plot convenience has to happen. They remember scuba diving people brought their gear on the plane, they find a dead passenger who had an oxygen tank to help them with breathing as they attempt to get to the surface, and they could use the flotation bags as little mini “air guns” to blow bubbles at the attacking sharks. No Way Up does stress your suspension of disbelief, but after all, this is a movie about sharks attacking people on a plane stuck 100 feet beneath the surface, so your mileage may vary.

While it seems like the craziest AI-driven plot imaginable, unfortunately, No Way Up offers very little regarding character development. The only character who has anything going for them is our heroine Ava, who is mourning her mother’s passing from drowning, so she’s determined not to go the same route as her mother. Everyone else is your stereotypical monster movie side characters, complete with their stupid decisions that get them killed by the sharks. Unfortunately, No Way Up was made before this year’s real-life Alaska Airlines flight door fiasco so we now know that if a flight door came off it wouldn’t make the whole plane almost explode like it does in the movie. One thing the movie does well is ramp up the gore. Legs get bit off, torsos get mauled, and sharks dismember people with absolute carnage and although the sharks are mostly CGI, the gore is almost certainly practical and reminds the audience that not everything needs to be CGI to be believable.

Now if you are looking for a realistic take on a plane crash and sharks running amok, No Way Up is the wrong movie for you! But if you don’t mind shutting your brain off for an hour and 30 minutes and watch a bunch of people go toe to toe with nature, the bends/water pressure, and sometimes logic, this will be a fun time for you!

No Way Up is currently available in theaters.