In Space, No One Can Hear You Care

Main Cast: Sofia Helena, Frederico Amaral

Director: Jeronimo Rocha

Well, this shouldn’t take long.  I just finished a new ALTER short, 2013’s Portuguese offering DEDALO.  It ran 8:21 and had no dialogue and very little story.  All of the details regarding character names and locations were gained from the movie’s IMDb entry, which says, “Trapped inside the Space freighter/Refinery DEDALO, SIENA tries to survive an infestation of diabolic creatures.”

Okay, that last part, I gleaned from watching the short, but I didn’t know where they were, what the main character’s name was, or why the movie was called DEDALO.

What little plot there is is VERY simple: we open on SIENA (played by Sofia Helena who has no more acting credits since this) navigating the walkways of her spaceship while an unseen, but hungry-sounding, creature (the IMDb page calls it a “Panmorphya Zenopod”) feasts on something in front of it.  She reaches a medical bag and injects herself with something that causes a short seizure before the creature notices her.  As the monster is making its way toward her, SIENA is readying another injection—of what, we have no idea—and just as it grabs her by the throat, she administers the meds, the creature drops her, she scrambles back only for the audience to see, in the steam behind her, another creature rising up.  Credits, and we’re left no more better off in the world than we were 8 minutes and 21 seconds ago.

I’m not saying I need my horror shorts to be packed full of information and plot, but holy crap, give me SOMETHING.  I can’t even tell you who wrote this thing; it’s not listed on the IMDb page.  The director is Jeronimo Rocha.  This is the fourth short of 15 he’s directed.  But no writer is listed.

The location was convincing, looking like any standard gritty space ship setting since the original ALIEN showed us what that looks like.  The creature effects were cool, right up until too much light was shone on it, then it fell apart, but I liked what I saw at first.

Sofia Helena portrayed scared sh*tless while trying to maintain control and think her way out of a terrifying situation.

But at the end of the day, DEDALO just had too many unanswered questions, too many holes that really need to be filled in order to fully appreciate the good things.

What’s a Panmorphya Zenopod?  Is it an alien, or did the ship somehow open a portal to Hell?  I want to say the latter, because the creature is very demonic-looking.  What did SIENA inject herself with?  And why is her right hand all black?  How did she know injecting the creature would put it down?  Is the creature we see behind her before the credits another creature, or did the fallen shipmate she tried to help earlier transform?  Is the creature some sort of virus that infects and changes those it comes into contact with?  I don’t know the answer to ANY of these, and I feel like knowing the answers would really help in giving this movie a better rating.

As it is, I can only rate what I saw, and what I saw was VERY minimal.  Good acting, what we got of it.  Good set design.  Excellent sound production—the creature’s munching was gross and unnerving—and while the injections she pulled from the medical bag were probably just sample sized colognes, they got the job done in conveying what they were supposed to be.

The biggest failing in DEDALO is in the details it was missing.  I wish there was a little more run time to fill in those gaps.  Or maybe some voiceover narration to play while the action was playing out on screen?  SOMETHING.  ANYTHING.  I was starving for more, but Rocha, and whoever wrote it, decided to leave us hanging.  Not cool.

You can watch DEDALO on the ALTER YouTube channel.

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