The Horror Honeys: Fear. Sacrifice. Contact.

Fear. Sacrifice. Contact.

A Sci-Fi Honey Review

Europa Report (2013)

I gotta say, Im pretty much Turkeyd out with all the holiday movies, so I was pretty stoked to take a shot at Europa Report, and get back on the Sci-Fi train. Oh Space, Ive missed you!

The Premise: Europa Report is a found footage film (Cloverfield, Blair Witch Project styles). Through a series of out-of-sequence clips, it depicts the first crewed mission to Europa, one of Jupiter's moons.  Its narrated by the CEO of the private corporation Europa Ventures that funded the expedition, whose mission was to send six astronauts to Europa to find potential new sources of life. The Europa One mission experiences a catastrophic technical failure that ends all communications with the company's mission control, and despite a series of deadly disasters, the found footage depicts what happened after communications ceased, showing the crew continuing their mission to Europa and landing on Jupiters moon.  They begin their research, and discover a mysterious bioluminescent something that might be bacteria, or might be something else. 

Its pretty clear from the start that things didnt go well for the six astronauts (or presumably there would be less footage and more crew members in the narration/interview clips). Similar to the movie Gravity, there are various equipment malfunctions/disasters, a really well-shot space walk, point-of-view shots from the astronauts helmets. Like Gravity, Europa Report is also pretty high on tension. One of the big differences though, is that while Gravity is pretty much action from end to end (not straight Horror or Sci-Fi), Europa Report has some truly unsettling tension-building scenes. Thats the kind of horror I love - where the filmmaker shows very little, but the viewer is getting increasingly freaked out. It also has a bunch of ACTUAL SCIENCE! And Im not going to give away the very ending of the movie (because Im not a dink) but it was exactly what I think it should have been, I loved it. 

I thought the cinematography was great - Europa Report is a fantastic looking movie. The space scenes are well done. The underwater scenes beneath the ice on Europa are scary yet dont show a bunch creatures or something, like other movies have done, which could spoil the realness and remove the viewer from the film. The only thing that really detracted from my enjoyment of Europa Report was that there are a couple of questionable decisions the astronauts make in the movie, to move the plot forward presumably, where I thought Seriously, they wouldnt do that in real life. The editing also could have been a bit better at the start of the movie; I often like out of sequence movies (Memento anyone?), but I found the first half hour of Europa Report a bit muddled and slightly confusing at times. Overall though, I thought the writing was solid, the movie was well directed, and I liked the musical shout-out to 2001: A Space Odyssey. The acting was great, I have little to complain about with this movie. I also liked that it gave a subtle dig at corporations. It became pretty clear to me that Europa Ventures thought the mission was a huge success, despite the mayhem and death that occurred. Because hey, if you wanna make a Space Omelette, you gotta break a few astronauts, amirite?

Sci-Fi Honey Lowdown: I liked this movie. It has a lot of SCIENCE in it!! YAY! The acting was good, the tension-building was fantastic, it was visually awesome, and the payoff ending was pretty much exactly what I wanted it to be. It was tense, claustrophobic, anxiety-provoking. There were a couple head-shaking decisions by the astronauts, a couple of lags in the plot, and the out-of-sequence rapid editing lost me a few times (What the hell just happened there?? Did you catch that?) As it stands though, its a solid sci-fi film. 

Sci-Fi Honey Rating: I give Europa Report 3.5 Bioluminescent Life Forms out of 5.