Pandorum Review

Movie: Pandorum
By: Maniac E
Date: October 25, 2011

Squandering around in space

Christian Alvart’s ‘Pandorum’ is a creature feature horror film set in space. In that respect, the movie doesn’t really depend on its sci-fi elements in the least, and its premise could have been easily transplanted to any isolated location that requires a large group of people to be locked away from civilization. The grungy, dark spaceship interiors and its many winding, bulky corridors could easily have been swapped for an underground research base, for example. But hey, who’s complaining? It’s been a long time since sci-fi has looked this dark, gritty, and grungy. And of course, deadly.


The film starts with two space crew members Bower (Ben Foster) and Payton (Dennis Quaid) waking up from a multi-year hyper-sleep to discover that the ship they are on is dying in power resources. Neither of them can remember the mission due to the fact that they have been sleeping for so long which has the side effect of mild to severe memory loss. Bower volunteers to try to get to the ship’s core reactor up and running as it comes on and off to give the ship spurts of power. Bower and Payton both realize that this must be done to get anywhere as their doesn’t seem to be anyone answering their lines of communication. Through his discovery of the ship on his trip to the reactor, Bower realizes that he is not alone. There are creatures that are hunting for human flesh and Bower is forced to not only proceed with the dyer mission, but to hide in every nook & cranny of the ship to survive. Throughout the journey, while guided through radio communication between Payton, Bower encounters survivors that seem like they have been awake for a while and seem to know what is going on.


While ‘Pandorum’ may borrow from other films like ‘Alien’ with its dark and wet corridors and definitely take a page from ’The Descent’ with a claustrophobic scene where Bower worms his way through the skeleton of a ventilation system that seems to be stuffed with rubber tubing, the film still stays fresh and has some very tense scenes. However, the film does have its flaws. The middle portion of the film moves at a snail’s pace and I thought I was already invested in the film for 2 hours yet it was only an hour into it. The last half just seems to rush through and eventually starts to lose grasp on what was making the film frightening and tends to dip it’s thoughtful head in a pool of sub-standard sci-fi/horror/action films.


The movie just falls short in terms of bad scripting. The movie has everything that it should have but instead we get an ordinary story to back everything up. ‘Pandorum’ being the head puzzle that it is has a lot of great ideas that hints at religion, mythology and even an environmental warning(come on, what recent sci-fi film hasn’t though) yet still struggles to stitch everything together. I think the movie will be enjoyed by sci-fi and horror movie geeks out there, but the mainstream will think twice before even seeing this one.


Like I said Pandorum packs a lot of good things, good acting, great settings, nice special effects and aliens. But all these good parts just can’t seem to get the movie to flow in a nice way. I enjoyed certain parts of it but looking at the total package it just lacks story wise. For the first twenty minutes you’ll be handed the promise of a freaky sci-fi thriller (thank Foster, as usual, for making a lot out of a little), but after that, if you hang around for the rest of Pandorum, you too will be forced to watch that promise denigrate into cosmic slop.







Christian Alvart






Dennis Quaid, Ben Foster, Cam Gigandet