Deus (2022) poster

Deus (2022)


aka Deus: The Dark Sphere

UK. 2022.


Director/Screenplay – Steve Stone, Producers – Claudia Black, Alan Latham & Thomas Mattinson, Photography – Kyle Heslop, Music – John Koustelinis, Visual Effects Supervisor – Ben Louden, Visual Effects – Viridian FX, Special Effects – Matthew Strange, Makeup Effects – Andrew Whiteoak, Production Design – Celina Norris. Production Company – Extremis Films/Highfield Grange Studios.


Claudia Black (Karla Gray), David O’Hara (Ulph), Phil Davis (Vance), Richard Blackwood (Sen), Brank Tomovic (Si), Charlie Macgechan (Sean), Crystal Yu (Tez), Monika Kasprzak (Voice of Miz), Lisa Eichhorn (Mother)


A six-person crew awake from hibernation on the spaceship Achilles. They have been despatched on an eight-month journey to investigate a mysterious black sphere in orbit around Mars. Back home, Earth is badly polluted and overcrowded. As they approach the sphere, it broadcasts one word ‘Deus’ – the Latin term for God. The crew immediately begin to wonder if they have encountered God, while Si goes to pieces mentally and attacks the others. The Achilles team land on the sphere and encounter a gate. As Karla approaches the gate, she hears the voice of her mother calling. They meet a figure who tells them that heaven lies on the other side and Karla passes through to see a fabulous city there. Hundreds of similar such gates have appeared on Earth and people are eagerly passing through them to go to Heaven. However, after returning, Karla has some doubts.

Deus was the fourth film from British director Steve Stone who had previously made the films Entity (2012), Schism (2016) and In Extremis (2017). The film is commonly referred to as Deus: The Dark Sphere but is named only Deus on the credits.

Deus comes with a good deal of promise. The journey to the far reaches of the Solar System to investigate a mysterious object recalls something of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) or perhaps more closely Event Horizon (1997). Stone’s effects team create a fantastically cool looking spaceship for the journey there. And there is a decent cast, even if most of the characters end up pointlessly killed or disappear off-screen. These include Claudia Black and Stone regular David O’Hara who gives a tough implacable performance in which he seems determined to make a minimum of facial movement.

However, it is not long until Deus starts to get loopy and go off the deep end. I don’t know what it is with SF films where we see people venturing into the unknown and this is automatically relayed in religious terms – Event Horizon and is literal journey through Hell, The Black Hole (1979) where the journey through a black hole ends up in Heaven and Hell, plus assorted appearances of God and The Devil on tv’s Battlestar Galactica (1978).

Here, immediately after the sphere broadcasts the word ‘deus’, the scene is accompanied by choral music. One crew member immediately starts to say things like “we have to turn back” and “we can’t go near it” and then turns psycho. This is a random plot element that has almost nothing to do with the rest of the film and takes things in the direction of the latter third of Sunshine (2007). Or given the religious presentiments, I was thinking maybe of the commander’s sudden religious derangement that came at the end of Conquest of Mars (1955).

Claudia Black aboard the spaceship Achilles in Deus (2022)
Claudia Black aboard the spaceship Achilles

This comes in between pieces of writing where Steve Stone reveals he hasn’t done a small amount of basic research. The gateway is described with meaningless hyperbole like “the edge of existence” or the sphere is analysed in terms of “my guess this is not on the periodic table,” which is something no scientist would stay. (All the elements on the periodic table are known – unknown ones would be so unstable they would have no solidity. What they are talking about is perhaps an unknown material or alloy).

However, none of that is quite as loopy as when Claudia Black discovers what is going on. I am unable to discuss this without divulging plot spoilers. So here goes [PLOT SPOILERS]. Claudia Black uncovers that the sphere and stargate to Heaven have all been a vast scheme manufactured by Phil Davis’s mission backer (it is never made clear what interests – government or corporate? – that he represents). This has involved the creation of a sphere in the orbit of Mars made out of materials apparently “not on the periodic table,” the spontaneous appearance of thousands of other stargates back on Earth, the fabrication of the ethereal figure who talks to them through the stargate and the vision of the city on the other side. This apparently also includes the murder of Claudia Black’s parents, which was made to appear an accidental, and her being surgically implanted with a device to give her the illusion that her mother is calling to her from beyond.

[PLOT SPOILERS CONTINUE] All of this is apparently part of a scheme to persuade humanity that this is really an appearance from God. We had previously had fake appearances from God on Mars in the equally ludicrous Red Planet Mars (1952), which were revealed to have been part of an insidious scheme by the evil Commies. This is more insidious in that it is designed to fool humanity to go through the stargate to heaven when in reality the gates are mass euthanizing devices in order to cull humanity of several billion people and make the environment more liveable. Part of me wonders wouldn’t that just mean that all the persons who didn’t think they would be allowed into Heaven would stay behind and leave a planet filled with the worst scumbags.

Trailer here

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