It seems like not many remember what a good survival film is, anymore, and while so many present prime opportunities for knuckle biting tension, often times they tend to fall so flat. Claudio Fäh’s “No Way Up” is a great idea for a survival thriller where the odds are deliriously stacked against a group of people. It’s just shocking that so much of this opportunity is wasted in favor of what is mostly a flat, redundant, and dull thriller. I don’t know how you take a great idea like “No Way Up” and leave it feeling like nothing is ever really fleshed out or fully developed.
Ava is hoping for a peaceful getaway with friends in the resort town of Cabo, Mexico. But when the plane crashes in the Pacific Ocean and comes to rest on the edge of an underwater ravine, Ava and a handful of survivors are trapped in the air locked cabin. Against the odds, Ava must fend for herself, contend with bloodthirsty sharks, and find the courage to step up and lead the crash survivors to safety.
“No Way Up” has all the hallmarks of the classic survival films, but likes to present itself more as a compact version of “The Poseidon Adventure.” It even hosts a setting where its victims are trapped in a traveling vessel that’s turned up side down. So much of the characters and concepts are pissed away during “No Way Up” in favor of a barebones plot that seems to rush to get to the big centerpiece involving the shark frenzy. But once the story is set in to motion, any semblance of shark frenzy is slim to nil. You’d assume a movie like this would have so many gruesome shark attacks and intense scenes of the survivors confronting sharks, but “No way Up” is so scarce in this department.
There are also so many baffling twists and turns taken as well as giant leaps of logic. Like, what would a Senator’s daughter be doing traveling in a run down plane? Why is she being escorted by one only body guard? Why weren’t Ava’s own guards keyed in to her location? We’re never given a chance to really understand or empathize with these characters, especially Colm Meaney who provides one of the most thankless walk on roles in years, bar none. The script for “No Way Up” just feels so rushed and often times nothing seems to happen; pair that up with Claudio Fäh’s anemic direction, and it feels like the movie is just going through the motion.
“No Way Up” is still a great idea, but it needs a more dynamic director and cast.