Why is the "lone weirdo in isolated space setting" so appealing? You could argue that it also touches on the same idea of "lone weirdo anywhere". It's the isolation factor, that idea people have that if someone is removed from society, they essentially go insane. I think that's what it is anyway. And thus we have another tired version of "lone weirdo" this time set in some unknown future year. Watching this made me think a lot about the Sam Neill movie Event Horizon (1997) and about the movie Sunshine (2007).
The cast is also all over the place. James Spader is leading man Nick after the captain of the ship is killed in what is basically a suicide. Angela Bassett is an icy medical officer, Lou Diamond Phillips and Robin Tunney are mindless sex objects, and Peter Facinelli is a hunky mystery man who is one the ship that called for help. I saw this movie only because of James Spader.
They rescue the ship I mentioned with Peter Facinelli, he immediately starts acting all off and trying to seduce the two female characters. In a laughable sequence, there are line 3 sex scenes in the first half hour basically, each one is really overdone and awful. It's like in The Room when there are those two almost exactly the same sex scenes. Facinelli's character Karl has a secret which is found about 5 minutes later, some bizarre light emitting pod that looks like it's all bad. It's obvious this thing influences people, and it makes them grow younger. It starts to mess with the crew, Karl grows slowly more menacing, and James Spader leaves the ship on a mission, leaving his crew alone with Karl. Uh oh.
The soundtrack and filming style are pretty laughable. This was in the periodic resurgence of "extreme" camera work. It's not uncommon to see strange shots, angles, and a in-your-face type of childish look to this movie. It was obviously trying to appeal to teens and young adults, but it was far too predictable and low-brow to even make that fanbase happy. The shoot was riddled with problems, which I think is the "why" of this movie's failure. Traded from director to director, rewritten what sounds like millions of times, cast traded in and out, everyone had a different idea of what this movie should've been.
The same problem happened with Event Horizon. In both cases, the original director and script wanted a dark, bloody, claustrophobic sci-fi thriller, and the studio wanted something more appealing to the idiotic drone humans. The cool factor got removed in trade for watered down effects, cutting off character development, and adding unnecessary scenes like the sex scene between Spader and Bassett in this movie.
Given all this, I'm surprised because this movie wasn't THAT bad. It's definitely unoriginal and very "blah" entertainment. The scenes all seem to be stolen from some other movie. The acting is unbalanced, and gives the movie an almost hostile feel. Everyone in the movie is inexplicably mad all the time, was my first thought on it. Spader, Bassett, Phillips, they are all simply wrecks of people. One thing I liked was that several plot points, like Spader's character's drug addiction, are mentioned and then simply never gotten back to. So, was that like important?? Cause it's only mentioned twice....?
I love sci-fi, and I love anything set in space. If it has a horror element, all the better. This movie is nowhere as good as Alien, Event Horizon, Sunshine, Sphere, the list goes on. But do what I did: see this because it's bad. Watch it for the same reason I watched Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. It's cheasy, overdone effects. It's hollow, eternally mad characters. It's sophomoric, super-duper 2000's camera work and soundtrack. Just see it. I give it solid B movie ratings, and 2.5 stars.