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Film Review – NO WAY UP (2024): A Shark Disaster Movie that takes a Nosedive

Sophie Mcintosh Will Attenborough Manuel Pacific Jeremias Amoore Phyllis Logan Grace Nettle No Way Up

No Way Up Review

No Way Up (2024) Film Review, a movie directed by Claudio Fäh, written by Andy Mayson, and starring Colm Meaney, Will Attenborough, Jeremias Amoore, Sophie McIntosh, Phyllis Logan, Grace Nettle, James Carroll Jordan, Carlos Agualusa, and Manuel Pacific.

The 2024 film No Way Up, directed by Claudio Fäh, is what happens when you throw everything at the wall to see what sticks, but nothing does. You have sharks, you have plane crashes, and you have a race against almost everything in order to drive tension and get the characters out safe. But it all feels flat, like the wall that had rejected our very ideas.

It starts like most disaster movies, and frankly, it’s the best part (Shout out to the Bad Religion song they got for the beginning). Our leading cast of characters, fronted by Colm Meany, who I can only assume needed a paycheck, all convene at LAX for a flight. There are hints that this movie might not land like it was intended early, due in part to some cringy dialogue and performances that can’t rise above the material. Although these are elements of a low to mid-budget disaster film that could come off as charming or endearing, instead, it reveals some damning cracks in the hull of No Way Up.

The plane crash sequence is by far the most effective of the film. It took me back to the excellent dream sequence in James Wong’s original, Final Destination. Few things are scarier than living out the moments of a plane crash before it goes down, and No Way Up does a solid job of portraying it, not so much what comes after.

After the plane crash lands into the Pacific Ocean, it descends into the depths of the cold blue water. Nearly all the passengers meet their demise in the sky, and we are left with our core group of survivors who hold out in an air bubble at the back of the plane. Even writing this review now, it sounds like the plot of a fun movie to see with friends on a Saturday night, but instead, it slogs through each scene with a blood-sucking persistence.

Perhaps the biggest mistake in the whole picture is eliminating the one character we would want to watch after the plane crashes. And it doesn’t hold a single candle to the Samuel Jackson Deep Blue Sea death that upends that film. Instead, we are left to feel like the remaining cast in the cabin of the plane when it happens, thinking to ourselves, “Oh no, he’s dead already?”

There is a general malaise to the action that undercuts the tension at every turn. The sharks feel wholly unnecessary, and their attacks are as pedestrian as the dialogue delivered. By the end, I felt myself rooting for the prehistoric beasts and their razor-sharp teeth to dispatch the rest of the cast. Some gore would have gone a long way in a picture like this, but instead, they opted for a melodramatic plot that takes itself far too seriously.

It’s a shame too. When watching this film, I was reminded of all the midlevel studio gems from the 90s and 2000s that were such a joy. The aforementioned Deep Blue Sea and the nearly flawless Snakes on a Plane were the first to come to mind. It makes the viewer yearn for those over-the-top disaster movies with solid studio budgets and a couple of B or C-level stars to round out the cast. I couldn’t tell if No Way Up was trying to inherently acknowledge said disaster films that came before and subvert our expectations, or did they really just try and throw everything into the slow cooker and see what came out?

Either way, the end result is something of a snoozefest that completely sunk when it was trying to surface.

Rating: 3/10

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