Updated: Mar 12, 2020
Review by Kelly
“An international crew of astronauts undertakes a privately funded mission to search for life on Jupiter's fourth largest moon.”
Has anyone heard of Europa Report? This movie somehow completely flew under my radar and I am not really sure how that happened! Released in 2013, Europa Report was directed by Sebastian Cordero and written by Philip Gelatt. It stars a variety of unknown actors minus Embeth Davidtz (Army of Darkness, Fallen, Matilda, Thir13teen Ghosts, etc) who plays more of a narrator role than anything else. It’s a mix of found footage, sci-fi, and horror, and it's right up my alley. A Spinsters of Horror fan, Nicholas Diak, recommended it to me so I thought I would review it for the first film of Space Horror Month!
The story is told through the footage sent from the Europa One space ship, space suit cameras, the NASA, and news reports. The team of scientists, with varying specialties, were sent to discover the potential of life on one of Jupiter’s moons, Europa. It seems there is a source of water and heat there that could promote life and of course, as curious humans, we needed to check it out. After 21 months, the team finally settles onto Europa, not without already losing one team member in a death I feel was completely unnecessary. Once on Europa, the eldest member of the team thinks he sees a light or something moving outside the ship but the team ignores it continuing to research and perform the job they are there to do. Quickly, they discover that he was right and that they aren’t alone on this moon and the life they came to explore is more complex than once thought! Classic.
Europa Report is a beautifully done movie. The shots of space and the planets, even when the team was working outside, looked perfect. I find the idea of being in space absolutely terrifying and they were easily able to project that sense of anxiety and dread in me. The footage from the cameras was realistic and looked technologically sound with the framing and the text. I do really enjoy space exploration movies as I enjoy seeing how the ship looks and the day in the life of an astronaut. Space is absolutely fascinating! Did I mention it was also horrifying? The isolation and vastness of space is incomprehensible. There was a minimal score which was perfect but when you did hear some music it was quite saccharine and over the top. The shots of the planet itself, the water and effects were great. The acting was great with stand out work by the main female scientist Katya played by Karolina Wydra. The science talk wasn’t overly complicated and made sense; the movie didn’t talk down to you. It made the movie more relatable and enjoyable.
Europa Report is incredibly light on the horror with a vast majority of the thrills being vague, hard to see or off the screen completely. That can have its merits but I really did want to see what the characters were seeing! Despite being very light on the terror, I was completely engaged throughout the movie.
I would recommend this movie to fans of sci-fi and space horror, but don’t expect the heavy chills of Alien or disturbing images of Event Horizon. This movie has its own place in the sci-fi horror genre and I was glad to have jumped aboard!
Here is a great article about the research done behind the movie to make it as realistic as possible: