As far as effective outer space horror movies go, they tend to be few and far between if you’re looking for anything of quality. That’s why Pandorum seemed as if it might be something of a shot in the dark, despite boasting veteran astronaut actor Dennis Quaid. Considering that the entire movie takes place aboard a space craft, you might be thinking that the limited setting could rob the science fiction elements from the movie, but you’ll have to see how this sickness in space movie fares for yourself.
The story is fairly simple, we have a sleeper ship called Elysium and aboard it are 60,000 human beings bound for a planet similar to Earth. Our two main heroes awake from their sleeping units to discover that they have no memory of what’s going on and the ship has become something of a nightmare. Gradually they learn that they have been in route to the new planet from a vastly overpopulated Earth and were supposed to arrive in 120 years. Instead, the space craft has been drifting for well over a thousand years and is in decrepit condition as a result. The dark, dank environment of the ship is crowded with spiders, shadows and crazed humans.
The humans are supposed to be genetically superior to those they descended from, but as it turns out they have actually begun to suffer from a terrible condition called Pandorum. Since the condition is related to their genetic upgrades and triggered by an extended stay in deep space, most of those not sleeping are affected, prone to outbursts of psychotic rage, among other things. The tension here is wire tight and definitely lends a very psychological angle to the film. Unlike other science fiction movies where the setting is a bit too futuristic to believe, in Pandorum you get the sense that this particular dystopian view of the human race’s future is quite plausible.
Since there is a strong mystery component to this film, your reviewer doesn’t want to blow it for you in case you haven’t seen the movie yet, but suffice it to say that the ending really is clever and interesting. The way the movie plays out pits the characters against a remarkably unique ‘villain’ that you will be no doubt surprised by. It’s an excellent twist after screwed up twist kind of story line that suits the psychological horror genre perfectly. There’s enough here to make multiple viewings worth your time and that’s a very strong level of praise for any movie, much less a more rare scifi horror flick that so often gets turned into something totally cheesy and over the top.
If you want a story that definitely delivers on its promise to keep you unnerved throughout, Pandorum has enough of the right scares and paranoia to keep you glued to the screen. All in all, this is certainly one movie that you don’t want to miss whether you’re a fan of horror or scifi because both genres are extremely well represented here. I’d even venture to say that if you simply enjoy a good drama, you’ll still like Pandorum and this makes it a great viewing for couples or groups.
Pandorum delivers a potential future no one wants to see, but it remains a movie that speaks about what we see now and what we could very well see in the future. That’s horror in its finest form, delivering not just scares but genuine food for thought.