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Breach Review: Schlocky Sci-Fi Horror That's So Abysmal, It's Fun

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While 2020 did not witness the release of too many mind-bending sci-fi ventures, there were some solid entries, such as the likes of Richard Stanley’s Color Out of Space and the especially poignant brilliance of The Vast of Night. The visceral, almost-dystopian horrors that plagued 2020 in the real world created a void within most, ushering the need to escape into fictional worlds that are immersive and intricate. Director Jon Suits’ direct-to-VOD sci-fi thriller, Breach, is definitely not a step in that direction, as it is helmed by an unoriginal and wholly-derivate premise that is presented in all its clichéd glory, despite featuring prominent actors like Bruce Willis and Thomas Jane. Breach has its moments of B- movie fun, stemming more from utterly ridiculous execution than a sincere effort to create a gripping space horror.

Set in the year 2242, Breach opens with the premise of a deadly plague wiping out most of humanity, which is an eerie mirroring of real-world events, considering that the film was shot during fall 2019. As most tell-tale sci-fi setups go, Breach presents the Earth as inhabitable due to this catastrophe, spurring a handful of survivors to be shipped to a colony on a planet dubbed “New Earth.” Details about this new home planet remain wholly absent, as Breach zeroes in on a couple, namely a pregnant woman, Hayley (Kassandra Clementi), and her boyfriend, Noah (Cody Kearsley). The two struggle to get aboard the last ship headed to the planet, eventually succeeding in doing so - however, Noah, being a stowaway, poses as a member of the ship’s staff, mainly in charge of cleaning the craft’s bathroom stalls.

With the last 300,000 colonists, including Hayley, and the ship’s gruff Admiral (Jane), being placed in a six-month cryo-stasis, the ship’s crew go about their mission in an almost off-handed, languid manner. This is followed by the dramatic introduction of one of the ship’s veteran crew, Clay (Willis), who seems more interested in rebuking Noah for his professional incompetence than assuming responsibility when all hell breaks loose later on due to a parasitic alien that is snuck onboard. Noah clearly struggles to fit in, going about his tasks without enthusiasm, as his priority is ensuring the safety and well-being of Hayley, and their unborn child. As Breach goes back and forth between Noah’s listless chores and the crew getting high, tragedy strikes when one of the crew members quite literally explodes after being host to the alien parasite that managed to sneak into the beer he was ingesting.

This shape-shifting alien infects one crew member after the next, liquifying their organs into black goo and using their bodies as a sentient skin suit meant to viciously attack whoever it encounters. Despite the horrifying-underdone of these sequences, Breach comes off more like a parody of compelling sci-horrors like Alien and The Thing, minus the deft execution, taut atmosphere, and overarching brilliance of these movies. Kearsley seems utterly miscast as the lead in the film, as his wooden performance and lackluster screen presence do not help improve upon the film’s flimsy premise. On the other hand, Willis belts out a bemused rendition of Clay, imbuing the film with sporadic moments of campy humor, rife with one-liners that come off as hilarious due to the fact that they’re so poorly-written. So much so, that in an especially tense sequence, when Noah asks Clay, “Where does that vent go?”, he languidly replies with, “Vents go a lot of places, kid.” The effect is unintentionally goofy, the kind that often accompanies films that are acutely aware of their own superficiality.

Despite its shortcomings, Breach has certain interesting themes running through its narrative, including the insurmountable power of the human will against creatures who seem to have emerged from a cosmic void, and the inherent self-effacing tendencies that some of us harbor. However, these elements are neither supplemented nor subverted through its vapid storytelling, especially as the movie ends with a twist that is predictable even by B-movie standards, to say the least. Helming a hackneyed plot and an unsatisfying conclusion, Breach is a tiring watch through and through, with its trite treatment of the cosmic horror genre and cringe-inducing, slapdash humor.

Breach is now available on direct-to-VOD since its release on December 18. It is 92 minutes long and rated R for language and some bloody violence.
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