When four astronauts are locked into an underground bunker simulation for 400 days to test the psychological effects of deep space travel, they end up getting a lot more than they bargained for when they first signed up for the programme. After they lose contact with the outside world and are forced to leave the bunker, the planet they find is a lot different to the one they left all those months ago.
For a Syfy Films original, 400 Days is surprising. If you’re looking for something to fill the void while you wait for Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! to air, this probably won’t be for you. Instead, it’s pretty reminiscent of Duncan Jones’ acclaimed space drama Moon, but in a good way. It’s stylish and atmospheric from start to end, and the concept and story behind it are actually really intriguing.
400 Days seems to know it’s not groundbreaking and relies on its audience coming along for Brandon Routh, Caity Lotz (both currently starring in DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow), Tom Cavanagh (The Flash), Ben Feldman (Cloverfield), Grant Bowler (Defiance) and, um, Dane Cook (Employee Of The Month). But once you’re there you end up staying for the story and to find out what the heck is going on.
It’s also creepy as hell. The contrast between the sterile, pristine simulation bunker and the rocky wasteland of the Earth 398 days after the start of the mission both provide excellent environments for spooky sci-fi shenanigans to go down. A tense score, strong direction from Osterman and the frequent use of hallucinations and dream sequences make 400 Days not only a surprising decent watch, but an exhilarating and psychologically thrilling one too.
Though a lot of questions are posed, not that many are answered and the clues that seem to be set down along the way don’t really lead anywhere. What 400 Days does do, though, is force you to think about how you would handle the situations the crew are faced with. The ending will definitely be unsatisfying to some, but those people should try to take it with a pinch of salt.