Flight 7500: Is the 2016 Film Inspired by a Real Air Tragedy?

Directed by Takashi Shimizu, ‘Flight 7500’ is a 2016 mystery horror film set aboard an airplane flying from Los Angels to Henada. Centering around a group of passengers on Vista Pacific Airlines flight 7500, including Brad, Pia, Liz, and Rick, the film follows an overnight flight to Japan that encounters an eerie supernatural haunting mid-air. While Air Hostesses Suzy and Laura try and maintain the calm aboard the vessel, Brad and his friends investigate the peculiar activity as a puzzling force of nature follows them around.

The story presents an unnerving tale about unexpected death that easily resonates with the audience despite its supernatural elements. Due to the film’s base premise of a flight accident that results in numerous unfortunate deaths, viewers might wonder if ‘Flight 7500’ is connected to real life. Let’s find out!

Flight 7500 Not a True Story But Echoes Helios Airways Crash

‘Flight 7500’ is not based on a true story. However, it is important to note that the film bears some resemblance to the 2005 Helios Airways Flight 522 incident. On August 14, 2005, 121 people died after Flight 522 crashed near Grammatiko, Greece. The accident was caused due to a faulty pressurization system and, according to reports, resulted in the passengers and crew’s death by hypoxia.

Although the specifics of the film’s storyline vary when compared to the real-life tragedy, it’s easy to draw some parallels between the two. The same may contribute to the film’s resemblance to reality for viewers. Nevertheless, the film isn’t directly based on the incident.

Craig Rosenberg wrote the screenplay for this film and is responsible for the inception of most of the characters and storylines the narrative explores. Most famously known for his work as a writer and producer on the hit tv show ‘The Boys,’ Rosenberg has previously worked on numerous other horror films like the 2009 film ‘The Uninvited‘ and the 2014 film ‘The Quiet Ones.’

Similarly, the film’s director, Japanese filmmaker Shimizu, popularly known in Hollywood for his ‘The Grudge’ movies, has also delivered some exceptional J-horror films, including ‘Suicide Forest Village’ and ‘Marebito.’ As such, both the writer and director behind ‘Flight 7500’ are well-versed in telling horror stories that successfully draw audiences in. Their experienced filmmaking certainly rubs off on the narrative and allows it to be grounded without the supernatural aspects taking over.

Producer Roy Lee first approached Shimizu with the film’s idea about a story depicting the panic that settles in over a closed room or an airplane. The idea instantly caught Shimizu’s interest, and he took on the project. While discussing the same in an interview, the director said he was inspired to incite a fear of airplanes within his audiences akin to the fear of beaches that Spielberg’sJaws‘ stirs.

Viewers can easily spot this deliberate focus on plane-based fear throughout the film, from horrors in overhead compartments and luggage holds to eerie atrocities clawing through the cramped plane bathroom floor. The film does a compelling job of taking its setting’s imagery and turning them into sources of horror.

Fear of air travel, or aerophobia, is already a prevalent phobia found among the masses. Several other films have equipped this same setting for their horror narratives, like ‘The Horror At 37,000 Feet’ and ‘Twilight Zone: The Movie,’ a 1983 film referenced within ‘Flight 7500.’ Therefore by playing on this fear, the film finds a realistic footing and appeals to a large audience.

Moreover, the film also utilizes the Japanese folklore concept of Shinigami, the spirit of death. The film brings its own take on Shinigami and crafts its own lore around the idea. Still, it is based on reality and supplies the film’s plotline with authenticity. Consequently, by taking inspiration from real life for the supernatural element, Shimizu and Rosenberg add a sense of realism to their film.

As such, even though ‘Flight 7500’ is not based on real-life events or characters, it finds its connection to reality through several different factors. Since a significant part of the characters’ storylines also revolves around their attachment to their mundane lives and problems, it’s easy for the audience to empathize and relate to them. Therefore, the film manages to deliver a realistic and relatable story regardless of its obvious disconnect from reality.

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