Just Plane Boring

Katalina (Svetlana Ivanova) became a national celebrity after being the only survivor of a plane crash. What’s evident in her story is how all Russians must project a strength, bury anxieties, and never appear weak. That’s why Katalina is famous, and why Row 19 aligns with misused Russian values.

Row 19 primarily takes place onboard a plane, Katalina traveling with her young daughter. Tension is immediate – Katalina tightens her grip on the arm rest, and the few other passengers raising suspicions. And then Row 19 dies.

Row 19 teeters between Russian propaganda and rebellious statement

A refreshingly brief 70-minute runtime helps, yet can’t avoid how little Row 19 does. Much as the script is determined to derive a nationalist power, the dialog runs aground. Conversations come off as inauthentic, and while the final (minor) twist offers an explanation, that’s too late; the script long since lost the way.

In blips, psychological horror appears. At times, it’s effective. Bloodied hands smack against the plane’s windows, and at another point, pin Katalina down to the seats. These manifest as physical apparitions of her own terror, drifting in and out of sanity, creating an unreal visual space testing Katalina’s limits.

More is made of Katalina conquering her conditions than any actual character. She dumps her pills in a toilet, ever stronger than forces controlling her. After multiple deaths, she runs toward the cockpit in theatrical slow motion, unwilling to stop as darkness threatens to consume her. A person’s individual power cannot be defeated, teetering Row 19 between Russian propaganda and rebellious statement against the country’s own political system. Intent cannot be hidden, certainly not in the contemporary historical context, which regardless of the homeland release date, still holds a disquieting feeling over the finished production.


Aside from low light noise, Row 19’s pedestrian digital cinematography fairs well enough. Stable clarity finds moderate definition and detail, generally in close. Lesser CG elements lack the same refined output, dotted by thicker noise, even ringing. Also, banding shows in plane exteriors, possibly a fault of the original animation effects.

Overly pleasing, contrast boldly layers the image before the horror takes over and begins a heavy shadowy assault. Black levels create the dimensionality required of modern productions.

Generous color produces accurate flesh tones along cooler (if still rich) primaries. Blue stewardess uniforms have an eye-fetching quality. Although taking place almost entirely within a plane, Row 19 finds ways to show off.


There’s an English dub, but stick with the Russian in 5.1. Ambiance runs excessively high, whether engines or the exterior weather hitting the fuselage. While not overwhelming dialog or out of balance, these things call more attention to themselves than necessary. Action favors loudness, but is accurate.

Runny bass needs tightening up. While there’s clear rumble, it’s poorly contained, never hitting the lowest points, settling into a bland midtone.


Just trailers.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Row 19
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An attempt to portray anxiety and mental health through the lens or airline horror, Row 19 fails in connecting through its story.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 42 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots grabbed directly from the Blu-ray:

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