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Pandorum (2009)

Review: written March 2010

Interesting addition to the sci-fi / horror mash-up genre

Pandorum (2009)

Well cast and believably brought to the screen, this movie suffers from straddling genre types somewhat, but the overall story arc is ultimately satisfying and the acting passes muster... even if some of the elements seem overly reworked from other genre outings.

We open in a tense claustrophobic setting when Ben Foster awakes from a long cryogenic sleep, on board a spacecraft... he can't remember why he is there. He manages to wake up another crewmember, (Dennis Quaid) and together they try and find out just exactly what is going on. And something very, very odd and disturbing is clearly going on. Things are not working right, and there are noises and faint screaming sounds coming from the ship. The situation escalates from one of tense claustrophobia and unanswered questions, to some more routine genre elements of monsters (think The Rievers, from Serenity), chases and a race against time. There are certainly some tense moments, and perhaps a few mild scares, but this is not an out and out horror movie, despite the `Resident Evil' connection proudly displayed on the cover. It has some of the early creepiness of Event Horizon, but is not as disturbing. Neither does this feel like an effects driven sci-fi - it has a more characters-in-peril feel, in an old fashioned way. The ending is a satisfying resolution, but the movies undoing is the way the tone jerks uneasily from one style to the next along the way. From claustrophobic tension to running along corridors, a soupcon of resident evil style fighting `bad guys', token woman to grace the cover and a just a taste of something new to give it some credibility.. it's as if there were several different directions they could have taken it, and they tried to squeeze most of them in to draw in the widest audience. I liked it, but those expecting a movie conforming to any prior expectations based on tag-lines or producer connections, might well be disappointed.

Flawed then, but an interesting enough addition to the sci-fi catalogue.

Pandorum (2009)

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