16th Apr2019

‘White Space’ DVD Review

by Chris Thomas

Stars: Holt McCallany, Zulay Henao, Dave Sheridan, James Devoti, Jocko Sims, Kodi Kitchen, Mike Genovese, Tiffany Brouwer, Isaac C. Singleton Jr., Sebastian A. Jones, Spencer Hill, Sheena Chou, Lauren Mary Kim | Written by Ryan Colucci, Clay McLeod Chapman | Directed by Ken Locsmandi


[NOTE: With the film now out on DVD in the UK, here’s a reposting of our review of White Space, aka Beyond White Space, from its US VOD release back in January]

In space Moby Dick can hear you scream…

White Space introduces us to the idea of the titular “white space” and that is, areas of space that somehow have remarkable healing properties that they can imbue on anyone who passed into them (for some reason). The only problem is there are space leviathans that protect them (for some reason). Our opening scene takes us 20 something years into the past for us to see a boy lose his dad to the space monsters. So, revenge it is then.

We have Moby Dick in space, revenge for revenge’s sake as it were. Our space whaling vessel, the Essex heads out into the big black. Think Alien, Dark Star, Serenity, Event Horizon, Alien Resurrection but with a smaller budget than all of them (baring Dark Star).

Put into our ship – a young, sexy crew and some broad sci-fi tropes presented by better computer effects used more effectively than one perhaps expects. Acting and cinematography here are universally decent albeit the characters are broad archetypes. Our captain lost his father 20 something years ago to one of the space whales and he’s out for revenge. Beyond this there is little in the way of character development and that there is makes little sense to me. Other members of the crew have their own, generic reasons for also being there.

We have the attractive lady with a secret, the grizzled alcoholic, the nerd, the cool guy who sleeps with seemingly all the ladies on board… The one character that made absolutely no sense to me but was entirely “new” was the ship cook, famous for assaulting people with her frying pan. No, honestly.

There is a competence about the whole effort, this is sci-fi action with a light horror flavour, but it lacks any real spark or magic. The music is good, the sound effects are good but in terms of character development, plot or script there simply isn’t enough to hold the interest. I can reel off a list of films this is a “bit like” but in truth most of the films this aspires to have something there that makes them valid, whether it is the cold terror of Alien or the utter dark comedic invention of Dark Star.

It is very difficult to review a film that lifts its ideas so entirely from other source material and then under develops its characters so much. White Space tries to throw enough our way to keep us interested – kung Fu fist fights, sex scenes, tiny alien creatures that climb in your head (a la Wrath of Khan) and space pirates but nothing quite manages to stick. For the last 15 minutes the film turns into a much less effective version of Sunshine. I never get the sense of dread that these characters should experience as bad stuff happen out on the edge of human exploration in space.

If someone mentions White Space in 2 months’ time, I very much suspect I will claim I have never heard of this it because I will have forgotten all about it. It does however make me interested in going back and re-watching some of the classics I have mentioned in this review.

White Space is out now on DVD from High Fliers Films.


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