I.S.S. is a new sci-fi thriller with a tiny cast and a story that feels true even though it isn’t. But could it be? The way people react certainly feels familiar. Also, I loved the bold ending. Read our full I.S.S. movie review here!

I.S.S. is the kind of movie that stays with you. It’s a sci-fi thriller that deals with very real everyday emotions. The kind of story that will make you wonder what you would do? It even forces you to think about what you would want them to do.

In the end, the movie takes place on the International Space Station (hence the title), but its issues are very grounded. What happens when we let fear take over? When communication and diplomacy are made to take the backseat?! Nothing good!

For the record, this is not a US vs Russia story. It’s much more of a humanity issue. Also, it’s about diplomacy versus blind obedience.

Continue reading our I.S.S. movie review below. Find it in theaters on January 19, 2024.

Are we all doomed?

In I.S.S., we’re in the near future. A situation on Earth results in extreme tension on the International Space Station. A brutal and clearly (as in it can be seen from space) violent conflict breaks out on Earth.

Before all communication to Earth goes dark, both the US and Russian Governments send a message to their people on the I.S.S. The message from both sides is simply this; Take control of the station. By any means necessary.

Being just six astronauts on the Space Station, they must decide whether to work together or follow orders. They should be a team, but what can you do when orders from the ground go against this?

You quickly get the feeling that while some would choose diplomacy and communication, others are getting in the way of that. This isn’t an action movie, but it does turn into a survival story.

Academy Award winner Ariana DeBose (Westworld) leads the small cast with Chris Messina (The Boogeyman) and John Gallagher Jr. (Hush) rounding out the US side. As Russians, we have Russian actors Costa Ronin and Masha Mashkova, and Danish Pilou Asbæk (Overlord).

More international than the US and Russia

Admittedly, it may be a smaller detail, but I wasn’t too fond of how the International Space Station was described as being just a USA and Russia endeavor.

The International Space Station is a collaboration of five national space agencies and other contractors. The agencies in the I.S.S. are NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada).

Usually, there are people from quite a few more countries than just the US and Russia as well. Right now, a Danish astronaut is up on the I.S.S., which only makes it all the more appropriate that we have a Dane (Pilou Asbæk) in this sci-fi thriller.

Of course, he’s portraying a Russian cosmonaut, but I guess we can’t have it all. Especially not for this movie, though it would have given it an extra edge that could’ve made the story even more intriguing.

The fact that alliances would have to be made across nationalities would’ve been a nice touch. Instead of the classic Cold War approach where it seemed only the USA and USSR existed. Sure, it’s been updated to Russia, but the rest of us just exist outside this somehow.

That detail does make the story seem strangely dated. To me, anyway.

I.S.S. (2023) – Review | Sci-fi Thriller

The unexpected and bold ending of I.S.S. 

With the ending of I.S.S. people are getting something different; Instead of a cut-and-dry ending where everything is black and white, this one focuses on the gray nuances.

The core issue of a conflict on Earth impacting the crew of the International Space Station is a larger-than-life setting. As such, it doesn’t end with a “… and they lived happily ever after”-kind of ending.

Then again, when does a sci-fi thriller ever end on such a note?!

While I don’t want to give away anything about the I.S.S. ending, I do want to mention that I loved it. Both due to its bold choices and very different approach to an ending. I’m sure it won’t be to everyone’s liking, but I very much did like it!

Watch I.S.S. in limited theaters!

The director of I.S.S. is Gabriela Cowperthwaite (Blackfish), and she manages to bring something new to this sci-fi thriller. From the very beginning, there’s the sense that while everyone works together, they have different bosses. Yet, they are also dependent on one another.

Not an easy situation, which is why this movie is a very tense movie-watching experience. The screenplay comes from Nick Shafir, who is making his debut with this script. Between his script, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s directing, and a stellar cast, the result is an intriguing one.

This isn’t a classic sci-fi thriller as it’s much more of a psychological thriller set in space. Still, it manages to deliver everything I’d expect from a movie in the sci-fi thriller niche. We’re in space and an actual apocalypse is upon Earth. It doesn’t get much darker than that!

I.S.S. premieres in US theaters on January 19, 2024.


Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite
Writer: Nick Shafir
Cast: Ariana DeBose, Chris Messina, John Gallagher Jr., Masha Mashkova, Costa Ronin, Pilou Asbæk


Tensions flare in the near future aboard the International Space Station as a worldwide conflict breaks out on Earth. Reeling from this, the astronauts receive orders from the ground: take control of the station by any means necessary.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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