A crowdfunded science fiction film featuring veterans of various STAR TREK shows such as Doug Jones (STAR TREK: DISCOVERY, Gehenna: Where Death Lives), Marina Sirtis (STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION, STAR TREK VOYAGER), Tim Russ (STAR TREK: VOYAGER, VITALS), Manu Intiraymi (STAR TREK: VOYAGER), Armin Shimerman (STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE) and Hana Hatae (STAR TREK:THE NEXT GENERATION, STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE). Sounds like a fan’s dream, right? Well, THE 5TH PASSENGER is the result of several successful crowdfunding campaigns, whether or not it’s a dream is another matter.
Set in a future where Citizens are somewhat akin to royalty and non-citizens are basically peasants and treated as such. Miller (Morgan Lariah who co-wrote the script) offers to take over for the ship’s AI and guide it through an asteroid field Langdon(Doug Jones) has a small meltdown and refuses. The results are just what you would guess. Miller, along with fellow non-citizens Myers (Armin Shimerman) and Thompson (Manu Intiraymi) ends up on a Citizens only escape pod. Citizens Franklin (Tim Russ) and Li (David Lim) are not happy about this, especially as the pod is designed to hold four people.
Miller rigs a means to get them somewhere they’re more likely to be found. Along the way, they encounter a seemly deserted cargo ship. But it may not be so deserted, and seems to have a connection to Franklin.
THE 5TH PASSENGER has some good ideas and well-done sequences. It also manages to shoot itself in the foot repeatedly. The divided class structure makes for some interesting conflict. But it’s played in such a heavy-handed way it provokes a lot of cringes. The SFX for the ships is quite well done for such a low budget film. The creature, however, looks pretty bad, even using a lot of quick cutting doesn’t help.
The film’s biggest problem though is its framing device. We know the fates of the characters from the start which is always a big minus for me. It also involves a device that reads a person’s memories. But we keep seeing things they couldn’t have seen such as whats going on at the other end of a radio conversation.
Director/co-writer Scotty Baker does build some solid suspense and keeps things from getting dull in the talky parts. And the twist at the end is one I didn’t see coming. THE 5TH PASSENGER goes out on a solid note at least.
Available on VOD from Epic Pictures, THE 5TH PASSENGER is an ok way to kill an evening, but it could have been much better. You can keep updated on it at its website