The International Space Station is the world’s attempt to bring nations together to increase diplomacy and eduction through experiments in biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology, and other fields. The station contains a crew of six who serve in different roles, but all knowing that their purpose is for the benefit of the world’s population. Commander Katerina Golovkin (Olga Dihovichnaya) leads the current crew of scientists who have been given the opportunity to study samples from Mars which include a new life form. Dr. Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare) is one of earth’s leading biologists and he is beside himself with enthusiasm to find out all he can about the supposed first life form discovered outside of Earth. With all of the eyes of the world watching, the crew begin to see the creature grow into a a new type of intelligence and they even allow the children of Earth to name it: Calvin. In light of the potential implications presented by this discovery, the team of scientists continue to preform tests until a minor accident occurs in the lab. At first they think that Calvin has died, but quickly they find that the creature is very much alive and threatens the lives of the crew and life on earth.

If this sounds familiar, it can be said that the story and effects come straight from the Ridley Scott (The Martian) playbook. Director Daniel Espinosa (Safe House) has delivered a visually stunning space horror that sits in the same pocket of the originator of this space aged genre. Even with these styling similarities, there is potential to differentiate this space odyssey with the amazing cast within the space station. The problem is that good acting talent can be limited by the script that is provided for them and this one is a bit undercooked. The writing team behind Deadpool seem to think that Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) should be left to improvise his lines and the rest of the team must prove they all can cry on demand. The rest of the script becomes quite pedestrian and outside of the conclusion, exceptionally predictable. This all could have been managed with effective camera work and on-screen pacing, but the extended dramatic pauses amongst the action become a detriment to the overall experience. 

Even with the lack of originality in concept, Espinosa does prove that he does have a good cinematic eye and has the ability to draw strong performances from his acting talent despite the weaknesses of the script. Jake Gyllenhaal (Nocturnal Animals) and Rebecca Ferguson (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation) do provide the strongest performances in this production. These performances are complemented by camera usage that provides the necessary discombobulation, not unlike the experience of Gravity. One thing that the Swedish director can be credited with is picking excellent films to sample from for his own version of terror in space.      

REEL DIALOGUE: What are some of the bigger questions to consider from this film?

Why are we fascinated with creating new life? For some it is a means of proving their intelligence, for others it might be exerting their power and for many it is merely a curiosity that must be explored.

One of the answers to this question can be found in the study of the Bible. Based on the premise of the creator God who made all mankind in his image, it is no wonder that God’s creation would want to create. This desire manifests itself in art, food, clothing, housing and even into the sciences. There are a multitude of moral juxtapositions to wrestle through in this consideration of creating new life, but the very nature to create is ingrained in humanity.

The only challenge is that God continues to prove that he is the only one to get it right when it comes to the creation of humanity. So, is the desire to create new life merely a lesson in futility or too hard to deny? Discuss.


  1. What does it mean to be human? (Genesis 1:27, 2:5-25)
  2. As a creator, what was God’s purpose in creating mankind? (Isaiah 43:7, Colossians 1:16)
  3. Is God a perfect and flawless creator? (Genesis 3)


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Russell Matthews

Russell loves film and enjoys engaging in discussions about the latest cinema offerings and then connecting this with the Gospel. He has worked for City Bible Forum for over 10 years, is a reviewer for Insights Magazine and Entertainment Fuse and has a blog called Russelling Reviews. He moderates events for Reel Dialogue which connect the film industry with the general public.