LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Booth's Blog: Deep space terror of Pandorum
By Emily Booth, Thursday 9th February 2017 It is not very often a film like Pandorum comes along. You can pretty much count them on your fingers; 2001: A Space Odyssey, Alien, Event Horizon, Prometheus, Solaris, Moon... Deep space sci-fi horrors that work on a cerebral level engaging the audience in grand themes of identity, origin and creation. Sci-Fear Season every Saturday night in February brings together some of these key films that really work your grey matter, and this week comes the network premiere of the dark sci-fi fantasy Pandorum (2009), directed by Christian Alvart (Antibodies, Case 39) and starring Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster.
The film's title refers to a fictional psychosis triggered by deep space hyper sleep, whereby individuals awake suffering amnesia, paranoia, and hallucinations. It seems our bodies can be thrust millions of miles into space, but our minds simply cannot handle the absence of anchorage to our home planet. The film begins with two crew members emerging, like birth from suspended hyper sleep, with no memory of where they are or what their mission is. Their situation grows more alarming when it appears they are totally alone, as thousands of people on the huge Elysium ship are missing. It transpires the Elysium is a Noah's Ark of sorts, a deep space mission to begin life on a new home planet named Tanis; a mere 123 years of travel away from Earth. So what went wrong? Exploration into the bowels of the mega ship reveal they are not alone, as viscous humanoids scuttle through the tunnels on the hunt, seemingly for human flesh. But from where has this strange race descended? And if one or both men are experiencing Pandorum, what is real and what is not? The film also deals very much with the issue of trust, our own evolutionary paths, and our uncertain future...
Stylistically, Pandorum has a similar look and feel to the "truckers in space" aesthetic defined by the Alien franchise, and while there's no Giger alien here, you can sense the parallels between organic tissue and technology. Thankfully the film largely steers away from CGI nonsense, opting instead for some tremendous sets and real creature designs and prosthetic make up.
The film has drawn more than a few parallels with the brilliant 1997 Event Horizon, which is not surprising considering that Paul W. S. Anderson, who directed Event Horizon, also produced Pandorum alongside other Horizon producer Jeremy Bolt. So if you liked that film, you should definitely check out Pandorum.
With more twists than your cerebral cortex, I challenge any of you to second guess the shock reveal at the end. To say anymore would spoil it for you, so tune in for Sci-Fear Season introduced by myself this Saturday 11th February at 9pm, and get ready for some mind-blowing entertainment!
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