Writer and director Matt Osterman opens his psychological thriller 400 Days with a series of U.S presidential speeches on space travel from J.F.K to Obama blended with grainy black and white footage of astronauts enduring all manner of strange and disturbing looking trials.
The films premise is extremely simply and inventive, in an attempt to simulate the huge time it would take to reach another planet during deep space travel four hopeful astronauts are placed in fake ship for 400 Days to see how the ordeal effects their mind, body and spirit.
Lead by troubled captain Theo (Brandon Routh) the team consists of hyperactive socially inept scientist Bug (Ben Feldman from the Friday the 13th remake), inappropriate meathead engineer Dvorak (Dane Cook) and psychologist Emily (Caity Lotz from The Pact) who is in charge of monitoring their mental well being with a number of quizzes and antagonizing appraisals.
Looked underground in the extremely realistic spacecraft the foursome prepare themselves for tedium punctuated by the occasional test thrown at them by mission control however it’s not long before paranoia, panic and petrifying events force them all to start doubting their own sanity and safety.
Many movies have been made about the human experience of space and its often trippy and terrifying effects including sensational Sci-Horrors such as 2001, Event Horizon and Moon. Although 400 Days bares a resemblance to various elements from those films and a few others it is a space oddity being that it is an intergalactic movie not set in the cosmos as everything happens here on Earth. Or does it?
More about the inner workings of the human psyche than outer space the set-up is perfect for a claustrophobic character driven piece where each individual slowly unwinds questioning not only their colleagues but themselves making for a tense and interesting experience.
With a cast including nearly as many heroes as Dawn of Justice with actors from DC series Legends of Tomorrow, Arrow and Tom Cavanagh from The Flash the film is filled with TV actors all of which are excellent especially Roth who has proven himself way beyond the curse of Superman to be a very likable lead.
Osterman crafts a well-paced movie with a twisting turning plot line that keeps the audience enthralled and although it may feel more like an expended episode of The Twilight Zone or Outer Limits 400 Days is a taught thriller with some excellent horror elements.