Horizon Line

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Horizon Line Movie Poster Image
Uninspired airborne thriller has language, racy moments.
  • PG-13
  • 2021
  • 92 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Characters fight for their lives against difficult odds, but otherwise there's not much heft here. Raises the issue of cultural appropriation, since it's the story of White people living on an island near Africa.

Positive Role Models

Characters show courage and strength, but they're not very well fleshed-out or interesting.

Violence

Frequent peril/danger/suspense. Character dies of a heart attack. Character breaks arm; bloody wound shown. Characters decide to throw a body out of the plane to lighten its load.

Sex

Passionate kissing/embracing; one character wraps her legs around another. Couple shown sleeping together, presumably after sex. Topless man, with some below-the-belt skin visible. The naked back of a woman wearing panties is shown.

Language

Fairly frequent language includes one "f--k" and one silently mouthed "f--k," as well as uses of "s--t," "ass," "dumbass," and "stupid," plus "Jesus" and "thank God."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking in bar and at a party. Characters with hangovers played for laughs. Bottles of rum are part of the plot. Pot and cigarette smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Horizon Line is a thriller about a couple (Alexander Dreymon and Allison Williams) who are trapped in a plane that's leaking fuel and lost over the ocean. Expect frequent peril, danger, and suspense. A bloody broken arm is also shown, and a character dies of a heart attack, and his body is dumped out of the plane to lighten the load. A couple kisses passionately, and one wraps her legs around the other's body. The next morning, they're shown sleeping together; a man is shirtless (with a glimpse of skin below the waist), and a woman's naked back and panties are seen. Language includes two uses of "f--k" (one spoken, and one silently mouthed), plus "s--t," "ass," "Jesus," "thank God," etc. Characters drink in a bar and at a party, and some are comically hung over. Characters also smoke pot and cigarettes, and a case of rum is part of the story.

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What's the story?

In HORIZON LINE, loving couple Jackson (Alexander Dreymon) and Sara (Allison Williams) are living on the beautiful island nation of Mauritius. They reluctantly break up when Sara leaves for a good job in London and Jackson wants to stay. A year later, Sara returns for a friend's wedding. She and Jackson run into each other before the festivities and share an unexpected night together. They next day, they end up on the same single-engine plane, heading to the wedding. When pilot Freddy (Keith David) dies of a heart attack over the ocean, the couple must set aside their differences to find land and get down safely. But they're losing fuel, fast.

Is it any good?

It has a decent premise and is compact and nicely paced, but this trapped-in-a-plane thriller eventually nose-dives due to uninteresting characters, lack of suspense, and too much preposterousness. This kind of thriller can work great if it finds the right balance between seriousness and silliness -- and if it introduces characters who are worth caring about. Unfortunately, Horizon Line doesn't really do either. We first meet Jackson and Sara sharing a last drink, with Sara explaining that she hates goodbyes. So, to avoid one, she simply gets up and walks out while Jackson is busy.

That's pretty slim character development, and, other than their jobs, we don't really learn much more about the two leads. Then, during the suspense part -- which this 92-minute movie takes a surprising amount of time to get to -- things just never seem as intense or as scary as they could have been. Two sequences in particular -- in which Jackson climbs out to duct-tape a leak in the fuel line and when Sara climbs out to do something even more dangerous -- feel completely ridiculous. The filmmakers didn't seem to realize how silly these moments are or how much fun they could have been if this silliness had been acknowledged. In the end, Horizon Line just sputters out.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Horizon Line's violence and peril. How did it make you feel? Is the movie thrilling or shocking? What's the difference?

  • How is sex depicted? What values are imparted?

  • How is substance use depicted? Are drinking and smoking glamorized? Are there consequences? Why does that matter?

  • Do you think the movie is an example of cultural appropriation, given that it's about wo White people on an island near Africa? Why, or why not?

  • Is Sara a positive role model? What are her strengths and flaws?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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