Denise, a lone woman who survived a deadly plane crash, is released from the hospital with a clean bill of health, but is warned that she might eventually feel the mental affects of Survivor Syndrome. Brushing it off as nothing, Denise returns to her normal life except now strange people begin showing up in the oddest of places - starring and following her. Are they the ones responsible for the accidents that occur shortly after she becomes aware of their presence or is something less supernatural going on?
You know I could start off this review by talking about how much I hate the "Final Destination" movies. How "Sole Survivor" not only beat "Final Destination" to the whole death's design plot by seventeen years, but it also did it much better. That the only redeeming part of the whole "Final Destination" series is that Ryan Nicholson worked on the effects in the first one. Of course I could also go on to mention how "Final Destination" is one of the main reasons why the horror genre is in a state of utter shit, while "Sole Survivor" is a sad reminder of how good horror use to be. I COULD mention all that, but it would be a pointless and unnecessary rant on a truly horrendous series. So I'll do the right thing and spare you, the readers, from having to read such things.
"Sole Survivor" is about Denise Watson, a producer for commercials who becomes the only survivor of a plane crash. Karla Davis, a former actress who has a part on a commercial Denise is working on, tried to warn her about the deadly flight. Not because the plane was going to crash, but because Denise was going to survive the crash. Now it seems around every corner Denise barely escapes a near fatal accident. Is it the result of a psychotic episode, like her doctor believes, or are the strangers who keep following her actually trying to kill her?
Sadly, because of a nauseatingly overrated series, "Sole Survivor" isn't going to hold much surprises in terms of story and execution for new viewers. Except for the fact that uses the plot device of death coming back for a lone survivor, and makes it work without being silly, stupid or schlocky. And I don't mean that to sound as condescending as it does (Well, maybe just a little.) but "Sole Survivor" does something that's really rare these days. It plays the story straight and keeps things subtle.
I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about the movie going into it but I came out a fan because it felt like a genuine horror movie. There are no comedic beats, there is no gore, no one-liners. Nothing that has become a regular genre cliché these days. The movie actual builds on the creepy suspense -- you get minor incidents in the beginning with Denise, and it builds and build where things become progressively worse for the character. It goes from shadows on the walls to Denise on the run from cadaverous people wielding knives.
It's not a great or exceptional movie because it is a by-the-numbers production -- it isn't looking to break molds or reinvent the wheel. What "Sole Survivor" is, however, is a good, simple but well made movie. Yes, it has some faults and some cheesy bits, but in general the acting is good and it keeps up a decent pace. Most importantly it focuses on the atmosphere, proper progression of the story and the characters which allows the movie become a worthy piece of genuine horror.