5th Passenger Movie Review
Written by Gabino Iglesias
Released by Epic Pictures Group
Directed by Scotty Baker
Written by Scotty Baker, Morgan Lariah, and David Henri Martin
2018, 89 minutes, Rated TV-14
Released on July 11th, 2018
Doug Jones as Langdon
Tim Russ as Franklin
David Lim as Li
Mindy Robinson as Thea
When it comes to movies, I have soft spots in my heart for a plethora of genres and subgenres. In that space (no pun intended) where horror and science fiction meet, nothing makes me happier than aliens invading a ship or absolutely horrible shit happening to a crew who can’t escape a vessel. Yeah, the Alien franchise and Event Horizon are two favorites of mine. In any case, anything remotely resembling those situations is something I’ll happily watch. Sadly, the premises don’t often deliver, and it’s hard to pull off something fresh and unique when there have been some many horror movies in this genre. I had hopes that 5th Passenger would be different, or at least great at repeating the same elements, but the film falls a bit short on all items on my checklist.
In 5th Passenger, five crew members are forced to get inside an escape pod built only for four people after their main ship is destroyed. The extra passenger means less food and oxygen for everyone, which leads to a lot of arguments and threats early on. However, before things can get completely out of hand, the crew gets the situation under control and find a way to stay alive. With rescue almost assured, something goes south: an alien creature boards their craft on the back of a crewmember and begins to attack them.
I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right: you’ve seen this movie two dozen times before. Sadly, this one isn’t good enough to recommend adding it to that list unless, like me, you’re an absolute fan of the genre and can’t stand knowing there’s another alien-in-the-ship movie out there you haven’t seen. However, just in case you’re still in the fence about it, here are some things you should know. First, the alien is kinda disappointing. It’s basically a large space spider…and the special effects aren’t so great, so space spider in this case is not as fucking awesome as it sounds. Second, some of the acting here is bad. I’m not talking bad for a low budget film; I’m talking bad for a high school home movie. This is especially sad considering the cast is full of Star Trek folks, so it’s not like these are a bunch of rookies stepping in front of the camera for the first time. Third, the tired premise limps along for the duration of the film without ever offering an iota of freshness. Lastly, there are some good shots and somewhat decent production values, so it all comes back to a worn-out plot just not hitting the spot.
I know Trekkies are hardcore fans, so if you’re one of them, by all means watch this. However, 5th Passenger ultimately falls into the huge bucket of movies I start forgetting about ten minutes after watching them. Part of that comes from the fact that breathing fresh air into a clichéd narrative is incredibly hard, and part of that is just that this film, which had four writers working on it, apparently knew that it was too hard, so it decided to not even try.