★★★ out of ★★★★★
Directed by Alexander Babaev
Terror-in-the-skies feature Row 19 is a bit of a bumpy ride, but committed performances and a fair share of supernatural puzzlement make it worth seeking out.
As supernatural airplane cinema goes, Russian outing Row 19 (Ryad 19; 2021) is neither the most original nor the most terrifying entry into the subgenre, but it definitely has enough going for it to recommend to those looking for a slick horror fix.
Katerina (Svetlana Ivanova) was the sole survivor of a commercial airline crash when she was a child. Twenty years later, she is a doctor and single mother taking a red-eye flight with her young daughter Diana (Marta Kessler, AKA Marta Timofeeva), and she is trying to appear braver than she feels. A rather kind man named Alexey (Wolfgang Cerny) does his best to comfort her, but odd things begin happening with the decidedly sparse group of passengers and the odd-acting flight attendants. Katerina begins seeing eerie images that frighten her, and soon enough the paranormal goings-on involve everyone on board.
Babaev keeps things going at a steady clip and the special effects work is well rendered, but James Rabb’s screenplay doesn’t give the cast and crew much new material with which to work. Ivanova, Cerny, and the solid supporting players do, however, give it their all, turning in believable performances, and there is a fair amount of creepy set pieces.
The story makes a bit of a cheat at one point that isn’t the most logical — nor satisfying, nor sensible — path to go down, and will doubtless leave some viewers frustrated. Overall, though, Row 19 has enough tension and mystery to it to warrant a watch.
Review by Joseph Perry
Well Go USA Entertainment presents Row 19, debuting on Digital, Blu-ray™ and DVD May 31.