Four years after Christian Alvart’s success with critically acclaimed thriller Antibodies, the German director returns with another psychological thriller – this time set in space. In the distant future two astronauts awaken from a hyper-sleep chamber aboard a dark and seemingly desolate ship with no memory of their whereabouts, identity or mission.
With a beginning shrouded in mystery, things seem set for a mystifying thrill-ride in space, with unexpected twists and turns to be revealed along the way; but rather than a dark, psychological thriller, Pandorum is just another underachieving, uninspired space-set sci-fi B-movie which lacks originality, that throws in a horde of questionable monsters for good measure.
When Corporal Bower (Foster) and Lieutenant Payton (Quaid) discover they are locked in their connecting unit with failing power and no communication to their fellow passengers, they decide to venture further into the main vessel of the spacecraft via a dark ventilation system in order to access the ship’s reactor, reset it and hopefully fully restore all power before the entire spacecraft shuts down for good. But as Bower tracks through the maze-like corridors, guided by Payton via a radio transmitter who remains in the connecting unit, he stumbles upon an army of pale-skinned and grossly disfigured tribal looking humanoids intent on hunting and killing anyone who crosses their paths. Yet all is not lost as Bowers, along with leather-clad scientist Nadia (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Resident Evil’s Mila Jovavich) and token Martial artist/agricultural specialist Manh set out to restore the ship together and ultimately save the day. Hurrah!
Hardly a unique premise – killer monsters aboard a deserted spacecraft – yet the psychological gem of the film, which is worth any real attention, is the concept of Pandorum, a psychosis brought on from the claustrophobia of the ship and the isolation of deep space. This psychosomatic notion is the one thing that could have saved such a dud film; but alas, the concept is half-heartedly and haphazardly explored only to be realised in Payton’s anti-climatic revelation towards the close of the picture. Not to be highly anticipated, if only to witness Quaid as he sinks further into bad movie morass, Pandorum offers little more than disgruntlement as yet another dire film is released for our viewing displeasure.