It deserves to be mentioned up front that this movie from 2014 was created by a team of volunteers led by Darren Scales with a budget of around £5000. That sum is nothing in the movie making industry and to be fair I’ve watched, or should I say endured, many big name studio movies with much larger budgets that wouldn’t even come close to the quality of this creation. Yes, there are some scenes where the CGI looks a little too CGI but to be fair, the action and screenplay help you overlook that.
The scene is set within the first five minutes and you know straight away this is a salvage operation heading toward a spaceship graveyard. Given that there’s another 1 hour 35 minutes you just know it’s going to go horribly wrong for the crew!
The challenge this film has is to create a believable universe and generate sufficient suspense and character empathy within just a few minutes. The next is to quickly introduce a crisis the crew have to recover from and show you the relationships between the crew so you can start that whole world building and story hook process in your mind as you watch.
With the opening sequence demonstrating how Faster Than Light (FTL) travel works, a minor suit drama and some admittedly hokey camaraderie you start to settle into the world very easily, so the challenges are met.
The most striking and capturing performances can easily be attributed to Scarlett (Victoria Hopkins) who is sufficiently kick-ass, mean and moody. Another of note is Captain John Goodwin played by Jonny Black. At first, he seems to underplay his character but starts to come into his own around Act 2. Easily overlooked is an awesome performance by the child actor Daniel Goodwin (Luke Shahin-Scales). Seriously, he really does well however toward the end we do have an old trope rolled out of a kid being good at tech stuff but it was done in a sufficiently engaging and convincing way. Throughout the film, you see more responsibility given to Daniel making you more forgiving of the trope to the point of acceptance.
Act 2 is where it all kicks off and tension builds up really well. There was a scene where I actually gasped in shock and I can’t recall the last time that happened to me. This was a major plus, it demonstrated to me that I was fully engaged with the story. There’s another scene involving the death of a character and a “shush” moment that really gets you in the feels. Overall, the action sequences were great and if you hark back to the budget they were amazing.
Act 3 has plenty of twists and turns and if you have given this movie a fair chance you’ll be entertained by having suspicions confirmed as well as enjoying the rock, paper scissors moment first embedded in Act 1.
I shan’t comment on the ending other than to say I wanted more.
Overall, what did I think? I thought it was great entertainment. I can hardly believe that it was produced on such a small budget and achieved so much. The spacecraft interiors deserve mention as they appeared to be very well crafted and looked absolutely convincing. They were well created showcasing current tech mixed with wide screen HUD’s. The computer displays were excellent with great detail and thought put into them.
After watching the film and being wowed, I went back and viewed the Drift Diaries where Darren explains some of the challenges he faced and his thought process. This really made me appreciate the work that went into this and understand how talented he and his crew really are.
I have no regrets at having watched this and wish I could say the same for other movies with a thousand times the budget. Give it a shot! If you like suspense, horror, sci-fi and a bit of fun you’ll like this. It’s bloody great and indie movies like this deserve our support.
Look out for another release by Darren Scales soon. Darkwave Edge of the Storm.
DIRECTOR Darren Scales
WRITER Sue Morris
CAST Jonny Black, Victoria Hopkins, Vin Hawke, Peter Revel-Walsh, David Dobson
Thank you for reading this review.
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