What happens when you awaken on an abandoned ship in space alone? Is the simple premise of Christian Alvart’s Pandorum. Starring Ben Foster and Dennis Quad as the two men who find themselves on an abandoned space craft with no memory of what has happened. This dark tale should leave you feeling lonely, claustrophobic, and above all frightened about the prospect of having no way of survival.

We open with Bower (Foster) who awakens from hyper sleep and finds himself wandering a space craft’s flight deck alone. After freshening himself up and attempting to remember what he is doing there he finds another man, Payton (Quaid), who has also just woken with no memory of how they got there. With all doors having been sealed shut due to the failing power Bower climbs through a ventilation shaft, breaking himself into the main decks of the ship, in order to get answers and turn the power back on. Meanwhile Payton stays behind in order to guide him through the dark corridors via the control computer that can be powered manually. Whilst searching the ship Bower comes across others who have also awoken to the silence, however it doesn’t take long before Bower finds himself meeting the one reason the ship is so desolate. With monster like killing machines hot on his tail Bower, and his new team, must be lead by Payton through the dark tunnels of the ship in order to regain power from the nuclear reactor before they are killed by the mutations breathing down their neck.

The mood of the film is very dark, chilling, and silent. When the film opens we spend several minutes alone with Bower and the silence with him is almost overbearing. Instantly you find yourself in the midst of space alone with him. Again when he ventures into the heart of the ship we hear nothing but silence until the high pitch screeching of the zombie like monsters startles you. The cinematography by Wedigo von Schultzendorff highlights the light amongst the dark and gives us a futuristic feel to proceedings. The vision of the film is actually one of the only highlights as much of the rest of it doesn’t feel as good. The characters aren’t very fleshed out, we learn very little about them and at times failed to really care if they survived or not. The script is poor, especially some of the dialogue. At one point a character says ‘I remember last time I woke from hyper sleep I couldn’t remember anything for months.’ That’s funny you just remembered that!! The story also fails to grip you and at times it is hard to follow where the characters are going. The dark corridors actually work against this part of the film.

The story is a major issue with the film. The intrigue and tension at the beginning was infectious but as soon as we were introduced to the zombies in space I found myself losing interest. It was a mash of many films put into space. At first it felt like we may get an Alien type film but ended up getting The Descent crossed with Event Horizon. Throughout the film we also see many flashbacks which seem to have very little need to be there, especially considering by the end they had little to do with the story. The overall reason for the story turns out to be quite an interesting idea, I won’t give it away here, but it ends in such a poor way as if it is all a happy ending which my interpretation of the film is that it is not. The B story has us learning about a space paranoia called pandorum; see the title comes in somewhere, which sends people into a mad state when they believe that everyone around them is there to kill them. This is constantly mentioned throughout and the problem with this is that is then becomes slightly obvious what is happening in one strand of the story. The finale of the film is also a major let down with things coming together quite poorly and with none of it ever really making sense. There are two stories going on throughout, in a much bigger story, but they seem to become confused with each other by the end.

This is not a film I would recommend. Of course it will have its fans out there but for me this was a poorly executed movie. The tense scenes from the beginning soon dispersed and it became something we have seen before. The performances weren’t particularly good either with Quaid delivering his poor lines poorly, and Foster seeming wrongly cast as the hero. The film is packed with problems and issues and it is one I fail to see what the point actually was. Not much makes sense by the end and the finale becomes too easy and happy for a film that started so dark and morbid. Overall a disappointing piece of work which shows why it struggled at the box office, meaning a sequel is not going to be made. Phew!

1.5 / 5

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