Video: As we’ve seen in films such as The Martian or Gravity, being alone in space can be terrifying — especially when something unexpected comes knocking at the door. The sci-fi short Control centres around a woman on a deep-space mission who’s struggling to cope from the sudden loss of her crew partner, only to discover that she might not be alone after all.
Written and directed by Carroll Brown, Control stars Jaimi Paige as Elizabeth, an astronaut who was assigned to an exploratory mission on Jupiter’s moon, Callisto. Soon after their arrival, her companion Mark dies, leaving her alone for several months until the next crew’s arrival — her only companion being Mission Control, which operates on a two-hour time delay.
The isolation quickly starts to get to her, and she starts to think she’s hearing things. But she eventually realises something else is going on.
The short film, while limited in scope and scale, feels pretty gripping, hearkening back to other space horrors such as Alien and Event Horizon. And the lead performance is solid.
Not all of the women in these new sci-fi and fantasy shorts — be they astronauts, fighter pilots, ambitious office workers, criminals, or just regular folks dealing with complicated emotions and surreal situations — are heroes. But isn’t life more interesting that way?
In a statement shared in Control’s YouTube description, Brown said he was inspired by the story of Jerri Nielsen FitzGerald, who found a lump in her breast and performed a biopsy on herself while she and her staff were stranded at a station in Antarctica.
He said he wanted to envision facing that kind of panic while completely alone in a place where you could not receive any help:
I tried to imagine the fear, the sense of isolation, the panic. I wanted to ramp all of that up to an exponential degree, and decided to set the events on an outpost so remote that even just talking to home was a delayed experience — these are the harsh realities of space and physics. Playing with the idea, I had the idle thought: “What if suddenly they responded in real time?” and I was off to the races.
Control is currently available on Dust’s YouTube page.