When I first saw the teaser trailer for this movie a while back, I was immediately excited for one reason: Ben Foster in a leading role. I've been a big fan of Foster's since I saw him in a little known (but brilliant) film entitled Bang Bang You're Dead, which, had it been a major studio film and not just a Showtime Original, should have won some awards (and given Foster some kind of Oscar nod). But since then, he's been getting some wasted roles, like Angel in X-Men 3, the Stranger in 30 Days of Night, or the crazy outlaw guy from 3:10 to Yuma. But, for the first time since BBYD, it seems he's been given something to work with once again, and I was excited.

Then I continued watching the rest of the teaser/trailer and realized how crazy awesome the film seemed with so little shown of it in said trailer. And from then on, I knew that if done right, this movie could be one of my favorite Sci-Fi films (or Sci-Fi/Horror). So how did it fare? Well, I'll get there in a minute.

The movie is a notable mix of familiar Sci-Fi (or horror) films, such as Aliens, Titan A.E., Sunshine, Event Horizon, The Descent, and a dash of Cube. And considering I only majorly disliked 1 of those films, those were some good odds. It's the future, and Earth is dying. So they send a space vessel, the Elysium, out into space to help (for reasons I don't want to spoil, though it's really not that hard to figure out). Next thing you know, we're watching Bower (Ben Foster) wake up from an extended cryo-sleep with loss of memory (which happens when you're in cryo-sleep for too long). After he orients himself, he is eventually joined by Lieutenant Payton (Dennis Quaid). The power is out, and the only door is locked shut. So Bower goes through the crawl space to get into another part of the ship and find a way to get the power back on. To do this, he must go through basically the entire ship to get to the power reactor thing while Payton stays behind to guide him via radio. But Bower soon realizes he's not alone. Among him are other survivors, including the badass foreign guy Manh (Cung Le), and a feisty woman named Nadia (Antje Traue). And then Payton soon discovers another, Gallo (Cam Gigandet), who seems a little crazed. But what exactly are they survivors from...?

Well, since I made a big deal of Ben Foster, I'll discuss acting first. Although Dennis Quaid gets top billing, Ben Foster is the main character. But is he able to show off his acting chops? Somewhat. This isn't a role as challenging and emotionally deep as the one in BBYD, but he does a pretty good job with it nonetheless. I was happy to see him given a good bit of stuff to do. Quaid, on the other hand, wasn't given much at all. He's basically locked in a room the entire movie asking if Foster's "Bower" is still there. He does do a few other things here and there, and the introduction of Gallo gives him some more interaction, but besides that, there isn't much.

And speaking of Gallo, one of my very few complaints is that I think it might have been better to introduce Gallo a little bit earlier in the movie. Not too early, but a little earlier than he was. And while we're on complaints, I just have a possible nitpick for a plot hole, but somebody correct me if I'm wrong. Throughout the movie, the characters are able to force open locked/shut doors to move around, yet there are other doors (such as the one out of the beginning room) that they can't. Are they just different types of doors or what?

I might need to see it again to get the full explanation of the "creatures," as it goes by really fast, but I liked what I gathered from it. It was original, and it wasn't some cop out "oh, aliens on board!" or anything like that (though there's a bit at the end that might make it moot anyway... who knows?). And speaking of really fast, those action scenes could have really been slowed down a bit. The action was crazy fast editing-wise. Not really shaky-cam, but just quick cuts. It was strange to go from slow, drawn-out frames of building tension to quick-cut action/suspense scenes. Though the action that you could make out was really freaking cool.

I really do think this is one great Sci-Fi flick to add to a list of what is a not-so-great genre. There are few films of this genre--Space Sci-Fi/Horror--that are actually really good (Alien/Aliens and Pitch Black off the top of my head). But I think this is in my Top 5 of the list now. It has a great mix of slow-building tension, suspense, fun action, a bit of humor, a couple scares, great atmosphere, and good writing and acting. Not to mention the special effects, which I haven't really mentioned yet. They're few and far between, but when you see them, they're really good. And the creature effects are decent. They're like a bigger, more humanoid version of the creatures from The Descent. So if you're a fan of the genre (or Ben Foster), I'd say give it a try. I found it highly entertaining, and I know I'll be getting it on DVD when it comes out.

Royale With Cheese

(P.S. Not perfect, as you saw in my review, but I loved it just the same, so I gave it my high score).


  1. Sounds like it's got a good structure built. I'm not crazy on the whole "what are these monsters on our ship?!" routine (after all, that was the part of Sunshine that failed miserably), but this does sound interesting, and I like Foster as well, though not quite as much as you. Will give it a try on DVD or cable fo sho.

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