Commuters on a plane get a close encounter with an unidentified flying object in filmmaker Clark Baker’s short film Vessel. At first just a normal night-time flight, things take a turn for the sci-fi when Danny (Brandon Bales) notices a very bright UFO heading right for the plane. When he frantically tries to warn the flight attendant, Emma (Julie Mintz), the UFO is gone… though not for long. Soon the entire plane is bathed in a bright light from beyond and then collected in what appears to be the hangar of a larger ship. As the crew and passengers wonder what is going on, something stirs in the darkness.
Vessel is a polished, beautiful endeavor. It may be a short film, but I could easily see it running on television as an episode of some sci-fi program or even as the opening sequence of a feature film. The filmmakers made some great creative choices with their color palette, and the effects work is a mix of CGI and practical, married (almost) flawlessly. Sure, you can tell the difference between the two when they are most starkly represented together but it doesn’t take away from the experience at all, and it’s still better than much of the sci-fi visual work you see in television.
Beyond the technical merit, the film also handles the suspense well and goes beyond just sci-fi into some horror audience-friendly developments. All around a strong genre film experience that is as much a showcase for the filmmakers behind the narrative choices for the film as it is a top score for those on the technical side.
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