Writer/director/producer Javier Chillon offers up helpings of both tension and dread in his science fiction/horror short film They Will All Die in Space (Spain, 2015). Although the short’s title gives viewers a pretty good idea about what is in store for the crew of the ill-fated Starship Tantalus, the reward of the film is finding out how and why. The answer is a grim one, indeed.
Phil Eberhart (Ben Temple) and Dan Atenas (Francesc Garrido) are crew members of the Starship Tantalus. Dan removes Alexander Talabot (Julio Perillan) from one of dozens of cryogenic chambers aboard the ship. Phil explains to Alexander that they have reanimated him because an asteroid shower nearly destroyed the Tantalus four months after departure; the crew has been adrift for six months without any form of communication and having lost its main engine. Alexander suggests that they reanimate his wife, who has the technical skills to help the men out of their predicament, but Eberhart tells him that the ship is doomed to drift through space until supplies run out, and asks Alexander if that is the fate to which he wants to subject his wife.
Javier Chillon keeps the suspense steadily rising as Alexander works on repairs, growing ever more curious about Phil and Dan. Chillon’s script runs lean and mean, building toward an exciting payoff. The three actors turn in splendid performances.
Art direction/production design head Idoia Esteban and her visual effects crew have created a stunning world of, in, and outside of the spaceship, including a marvelously rendered design of the Tantalus by Stephane Chasseloup. Set dressers Victor Lopez and Alvaro Suarez, along with the rest of the short’s art department, have done a first-rate job building impressive set designs for the ship’s interior. Luis Fuentes’s cinematography is striking, and the choice of filming in black-and-white fits the somber tone of the proceedings perfectly. A fittingly eerie synthesizer score by Cirilo Fernandez works in tandem with Roberto Fernandez’s sound design.
Relying on the time-honored cinematic fright fare traditions of suggestion and leaving things for viewers’ imaginations to fill in the gaps, They Will All Die in Space relies on the strength of its story and performances rather than on gory visual images. The fate of the Starship Tantalus’s crew is nevertheless chilling, gruesome, and memorable.
They Will All Die in Space screened at the 20th Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFAN) in South Korea (July 21-31, 2016).
They Will All Die in Space: (4 / 5)