Decommissioned Is a Delightfully Spooky Ghost Story Set on the ISS

If you’ve been looking for a good scare over your lunch break, there’s a short film that you should check out: Decommissioned.

Directed by Josh Tanner, it features an astronaut aboard the International Space Station that encounters a presence while up in orbit. It’s a genuinely creepy film that had me at the edge of my seat.

The premise of the film is based on something that NASA actually did: back in 2006, one of their Russian-made Orlan spacesuits reached the end of its lifespan. The crew of the ISS equipped it with some batteries and a transmitter, and released it into space broadcasting a signal that anyone with a ham radio on Earth could pick up. They called it SuitSat 1, and it lasted for months until it burned up in the Earth’s atmosphere later that year. In 2011, they released another one, SuitSat 2, which burned up in January 2012.

In Decommissioned, Commander Diaz (Joey Vieira) is taking pictures of Earth from the ISS, when he spots something strange in the distance. Mission Control tells him that there’s no debris in the area, and when he looks through his camera, he realizes that it’s something impossible: SuitSat.

Moreover, the creepy satellite is coming closer to the ISS, and when it does, there’s some disastrous consequences.

I won’t spoil what happens, but it’s an unsettling and well-crafted story, with a really excellent payoff at the end.

The film comes from Perception Pictures, which also uploaded a short making-of video of the project, a part of the Unreal Engine Short Film Initiative from Epic Games.

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